Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Gasol

Yes, it's been a rough week, what with the passing of two legends recently. However, tonight I was the guest of the best professional basketball player this town has ever had for opening night at the FedExForum. My buddy Mike, who has been a season-ticket holder from the very beginning, was at the Tuesday night pep rally, where the aforementioned Mr. Gasol handed out 500 tickets that HE BOUGHT just for the purpose of making sure anyone who wanted to go the Grizz-Spurs tilt could go. And, lest you think they were nosebleed level, think again.

Our seats were in the lower bowl, 14th row, certainly not seats I could afford, so this was an act of class and a great way to show Memphians that he does want to be here and lead this franchise to a NBA championship.

While, yes, we lost to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, 104-101, it is obvious that this team is a far cry from last year's debacle, as we were in this game to the buzzer; as usual, it was Manu Ginobili who stuck in the dagger at the end.

However, the defensive intensity is so far beyond last year it's amazing. We tied the Spurs in rebounding, and I want to give thumbs up to the following Griz players for their work tonight:
Pau (he led with 22 points), Damon Stoudamire, who showed flashes of the old Damon tonight, Darko Milicic (who played great D on future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan), Mike Miller, Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay, and newcomer Juan Carlos Navarro, who is a terrific three-point shooter.

Folks, if what I saw tonight is any indication of the season to come, we have a playoff team here. We all may be spending more time with the Grizzlies than we'd planned for, and that's a good thing.