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HANGIN' WITH THE GRIZZ
Lee Jenkins
May 20, 2013
FOR SEVEN DAYS SI WENT BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MEMPHIS AS THE WESTERN CONFERENCE CONTENDERS IMPROVISED A GAME PLAN FOR THE THUNDER, BOUNCED BACK FROM A GRUELING DEFEAT—AND GOT THEIR HAIR CUT JUST RIGHT
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May 20, 2013

Hangin' With The Grizz

FOR SEVEN DAYS SI WENT BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MEMPHIS AS THE WESTERN CONFERENCE CONTENDERS IMPROVISED A GAME PLAN FOR THE THUNDER, BOUNCED BACK FROM A GRUELING DEFEAT—AND GOT THEIR HAIR CUT JUST RIGHT

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The Grizzlies' small-ball lineup built a 10-point first-half lead but squandered it with outside shots. "The threes are killing our momentum!" Hollins chirped on the sideline. The second half, though, was classic Grizz. They held the Thunder to 33.3% shooting. Gasol scored 16 points. Dooling drilled a huge three. So did Pondexter. And in the final minute, with the Grindhouse in full throat, Durant missed two free throws. It can happen to anybody. On the other end Conley nailed his, and the Grizzlies took a 2--1 series lead.

"Oh, dear God," Gasol sighed on the way to the locker room, and Conley parroted him: "Dear God is right, baby." Inside, Allen was yammering about sitting on Durant's left hand, needing better spacing, but grinding and clawing and fighting all the way to the end. Gasol and Conley chuckled. "You're freaking out," Gasol said. The 7-footer dropped two feet in a yellow janitor's bucket filled with ice. Conley started getting ready for dinner with his parents. Pondexter considered what movie he should see. "I think it will be Gatsby," he concluded.

Hollins walked in and stood in the middle of the room. He wiped the sweat from his face. "You guys are crazy, crazy, crazy competitive players," he started. "You're all yelling at me and yelling at each other, but you go out and you compete your asses off, and that's what I love about you. We did not play well today, but we persevered and we won." Hollins paused for a moment and tried to recall the time of the next practice. In the playoffs the calendar can get confused, and even holidays are forgotten. "Is it Mother's Day tomorrow?" he asked. The group reminded him it was.

"Let's get out of here then," he said, "and praise our mothers."

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