Memphis Grizzlies Beat Cleveland Cavaliers: Best Win in Franchise History?
There were 16,000 fans at FedEx Forum to see LeBron James play in Memphis.
When they left, they saw a Memphis Grizzlies team take the Cleveland Cavaliers' best punch as they snatched a 111-109 overtime win Wednesday night. We will see if the team can keep up their good play with another home game against Oklahoma City Friday.
But, was the Cleveland win the biggest in Memphis Grizzlies' franchise history?
I am tempted to say no. But it was a great game for a big crowd that saw a little bit of everything.
They saw Memphis trail by 16 points and came back to take the lead. They saw James score 43 points and hit some impossible fall away threes in the fourth quarter.
They also saw point guard Mike Conley drive to the basket off a pick-and-roll and beat Shaquille O'Neal with three seconds remaining in overtime for the winning basket.
"It was late in the clock and I thought he was going to shoot the jumper," O'Neal said to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer . "He gave me the Allen Iverson carry, hesi[tation] move and he got me."
In that play, the fans also saw Grizzlies' coach Lionel Hollins out-coach Cleveland's Mike Brown in the final seconds. Hollins was counting on O'Neal being in the game and gambled that Conley could either pass the ball to a teammate or score, if he saw the opportunity.
Brown's personnel decision played right into Memphis' hands.
"I was hoping [O'Neal] would still be in the game," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said on Cleveland.com . "So we could use him in the pick-and-roll."
While Cleveland became the "LeBron Show" as James took almost all of the shots late in the game. It seemed that James was option one, two, and three. That's fine, if it works. But, a one-man show could not counter great performances by Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo, and Rudy Gay.
I wrote in my last column that this game would be a measuring stick that would tell us how this team has progressed.
Well, we got our answer. This team looks nothing like the team that began this season 1-8. We know this team can score. But we are seeing a team that is devoted to defense.
Can they keep it up and become a .500 team? The jury is still out on that.
Note: You can listen to my weekly Memphis Grizzlies podcast, "Memphis Grizzlies Report ," where I talk about the news and events surrounding the team.
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