OAKLAND – After Monday night’s convincing loss to the Warriors, the Memphis Grizzlies are back to being underdogs in their second round playoff series.
Still, Memphis can draw on a couple past experiences. They already won once at Oracle Arena, beating Golden State fairly handily in Game 2. They also claimed a victory in the same situation last season, beating the favored Thunder in a Game 5 on the road to go ahead three games to two in a first round series they would eventually lose.
Perhaps coach Dave Joerger and his club can draw on those previous games – one recent, and one recent enough to still be relevant, as they deal with the roller coaster that is the playoffs.
“Three days ago was high, holy cows in Memphis. Now, today in Memphis it’s like ‘oh my god.’ That’s the playoffs,” Joerger said on Tuesday at Oracle Arena, where his team held an optional shoot around. “You’re going to be high and going to be low within 48 hours. If we’re going to sit here with our heads down, that would be a big mistake.”
The Grizzlies, of course, blew a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Monday night, as Golden State’s defense clamped down. Memphis shot just 37.5 percent.
One notable adjustment Warriors coach Steve Kerr made was putting Andrew Bogut on Tony Allen, who is a stellar defender but struggles at times with his shooting. Allen was just 2-for-9 from the floor.
Joerger was asked if he’s ever seen that kind of scheme before.
“We’ve seen a lot of things. You probably don’t see an opposing team’s center playing your starting shooting guard very often. They did it for seven possessions. We just got out of character instead of just doing what we do and staying who we are.”
What does [Allen] need to do in that situation?
“Nothing I would tell you,” Joerger said.
The coach wasn’t overly displeased with his offense, though. He pointed out that the Grizzlies took 32 shots in the paint in the first half, and 56 for the game. They finished just 22-for-56 (39.2 percent).
“If you said, ‘Dave, you can get 32 shots in the first half inside of 8-to-12 feet,’ I would be like, yes. Sign me up,” Joerger said.
“We’re the kind of team that just keeps banging away and banging away, and sooner or later the rock will crack. Not just because you hit it once special, but because you hit it 1,000 times. That’s our mentality, just to keep at it. There’s no way we’re going to put our heads down.”
Memphis will be trying to give the Warriors just their fourth home loss of the season, including last week’s result in Game 2. That would provide an opportunity to close out the series at home on Friday, and shock the NBA world in the process.
“They did a super job last night. They moved the basketball and they made shots,” Joerger said. “I’m sure they’re going to come in here and the place will be rocking. It should be a heck of a game.”