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As we post this, a couple more games have happened in Oklahoma City -- one sad loss and one amazing triumph. Aimee will be posting on those games as they happen, but she got to go to last Friday night's amazing final game against the LA Clippers, where we guaranteed that poor TJ Simers won't have to write about the Clippers for a long while. It was her first time actually being in the Grindhouse. Here's what she has to say about that game:
by Aimee Stiegemeyer
Our Memphis Grizzlies came back home ready to grind Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA playoffs, and I was lucky enough to be there in the Grindhouse to witness it go down. The energy in the air was indescribable, and judging from the sight and sound of the sellout crowd cheering and waving the bright gold growl towels, the excitement was contagious.
I’ve watched many a Grizzlies game when they are broadcast locally, and listened to the radio cast of quite a few of the ones that were not, but this was the first time that I have had the pleasure of attending a game at the FedEx Forum. I cannot say enough positive things about the arena itself and its staff. The last basketball game I attended was back when the Tigers played their home games at The Pyramid, or the “Tomb of Doom” as it came to be called, long before the Grizzlies came to town.
It was an amazing experience and my only regret is that I waited so long, I will definitely be back.
This was a very physical game from the start, as you could tell by how many fouls happened in the first quarter alone. That seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night, with the aggression from both teams increasing in the second half, culminating with the eventual ejections of LA’s Chris Paul, and our very own Zach Randolph in the final minutes of the game. It was all over but the shouting at that point, literally, as it seemed the whole building shook from the sound of nearly 18,000 people joined in a fevered chant of “Z-BO!” as Randolph made his way back to the locker room.
Moments later the Grizzlies closed out the game and the series with a final score 118- Memphis, 105- Los Angeles. This is a bittersweet victory for us, having been in this exact same spot last year, and losing to LA in round 1 of the playoffs.
This best of possible 7 series started with 2 consecutive losses for the Grizzlies at the Clippers home stadium in Los Angeles, the second due to a lucky shot by Chris Paul just before the clock ran out. The team found its mojo back on familiar ground at the Grindhouse, and went on to win two consecutive home games and one more in LA before this sixth and final game Friday night.
This was a real ball till you fall game, and the clearly outmatched Clippers got desperate and downright dirty all throughout, but to no avail.
Like our towels said, “We Don’t Bluff.”
- Mike Conley, like a fucking boss. Not only was he a beast with a total of 23 points overall, he took some really hard hits and got back up and back to the grind.
- Tony Allen, the Grindfather himself, quick, fast, and on the grind, scored a total of 19 points and all sorts of assists.
- Jerry Bayless with that amazing long shot right at the buzzer at the end of the 3rd quarter
- Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph, tussling, just like old times. We’re waiting for the tape to decide.
- The sounds of nearly everyone in the building chanting “Whoop That Trick!”
- Nastiest play of the night goes to Chris Paul and his “accidental” gut check on Marc Gasol, this coming just a split second after Gasol being boxed in by Matt Barnes.
Now we have advanced to the semi finals against the Oklahoma Thunder in another best of 7, started this past Sunday in OKC, with a narrow loss by the Grizz. You can read more about that here.
Game 2 was last night (Tuesday, May 7), and as you should know by now, we more than pulled it out in the end. Next up is this Saturday, back in the Grindhouse, at 4:00 PM, and we'll be looking for the Grizz to own Oklahoma City on our turf just like we did with the Clippers.
Above all else, remember to stay calm and grind on, and more importantly, Believe Memphis.