Grizz/Kings thriller falls in line with series history

Posted on November 30, 2014



By: Travis Nauert

It’s hard to imagine that anyone foresaw how the Grizz/Kings game would play out on November 13th. But given the circumstances, both the history of the series and Rudy Gay’s return to Memphis, something crazy was bound to happen.

See, it was far from the first time that a controversial call would cloud the outcome or a buzzer beating shot would determine the
result between these two.

Almost ten years ago, on March 8th, 2005, it was the Grizzlies who claimed a tipped inbounds pass should have triggered the game clock to start. James Posy deflected a Peja Stojakovic pass with 1.4 seconds left and the score tied at 82. The clock remained idle until Mike Bibby, the former Grizzly, possessed the ball and connected on a game winning 3 as time expired. In the post game interview Bibby admitted the ball was tipped, even though the referees failed to overturn the missed call.

But you don’t have to go that far back to find bizarre finishes. Last season, on January 17th, Mike Conley gained possession and ran out the clock after a controversial jump ball was ruled with under 2 seconds remaining. In his second return to Memphis and first as a King, Rudy Gay won the jump against Tayshaun Prince, one of the players for whom he was traded. Marc Gasol, however, put his bear claw on the ball and deflected it towards Conley who secured the victory.

Two seasons ago, on April 7, 2013, a late Mike Conley bucket and two Marc Gasol blocks in the last ten seconds gave the Grizz an 89-87 win and their first season sweep of the Kings in franchise history.

And back on December 29, 2010, it was the Kings who stunned the Grizzlies with an improbable buzzer beater. OJ Mayo hit a contested fade away jumper off one leg with 1.5 seconds remaining. For a moment, Demarcus Cousins looked defeated. But he inbounded the ball to the Tyreke Evans, the former Memphis Tiger, who dribbled once and launched the ball from beyond half court. It was pure, and the Kings won 100-98..

So, Courtney Lee’s late game heroics and the Grizzlies’ comeback did not veer far from the mean.  Granted, the magnitude of Memphis’ comeback was one for the record books and Lee’s shot will be replayed for ages. The Kings filed a formal protest to the NBA arguing that the clock failed to start on time and thus the Lee’s attempt took more than .3 seconds. Last week, the league office denied their protest, putting the “controversy” to rest.

Take a look at this year’s thriller by the numbers, and brace yourself for the rest of their 3 meetings this season:

By the Numbers

26: The Grizz overcame a 26 point deficit, the largest comeback in franchise history, to win at the buzzer.

3: After Demarcus Cousins’ 17 foot jumper opened the scoring to break the initial 0-0 tie, the lead changed hands just 3 times.  Mike Conley knocked down a 3 with 10 seconds left to put Memphis up 109-108. 4 seconds later, Cousins hit two free throws to put the Kings back on top 110-109. ZBo missed a shot with two seconds left, and a foul gave Ben McLemore two free throws. He missed them both, and you know the rest.

.3: Courtney Lee’s game winning attempt began with 3 tenths of a second remaining.


4: The Grizzlies made 4 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, with three coming courtesy of Vince Carter. After a slow scoring start to his stint with the Grizz, VC showed his worth both in terms of clutch shooting and 3 point production.

7: The Grizzlies have won 7 straight against the Kings and 14 of the last 17

Including the Vancouver days, 26 Grizz/Kings games have been decided by 5 points or less, or gone to overtime.