SH Blog: Grizzlies, Clippers shaping identities early

One night, both of last year’s NBA Finalists competing, both NBA Finalists going down.

The Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers turned in two of the top performances of the young 2012-13 NBA season, as they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat by 10 and 7 points, respectively, though the point differential isn’t an indicator of how well either team played:

After losing their opening night matchup against the Clippers, the Memphis Grizzlies have bounced back and played exceptionally well against quality opponents. In their past two games alone they’ve decimated the defending NBA champion Miami Heat (104-86) and ground out an impressive 107-97 victory last night against the 2011-12 Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder on the road in one of the more hostile environments in the league.

Three Keys to the game (and the season) for the Grizzlies:
1. Team Passing: While Kevin Durant and the Thunder struggled at times to get going in the half court (because the Grizzlies match up with them exceptionally well), the Grizzlies’ collective ability to find the open man through unselfish ball movement was phenomenal. No play summed this up better than when Rudy Gay caught the ball at the free throw line and zinged a pass to Marc Gasol near the left block, who then dropped off an even better bounce pass underneath the hoop and across the lane to Zach Randolph late in the fourth quarter. Following their poor start (the Thunder took an early 10-point lead), Memphis bounced back and played composed basketball the rest of the game.

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