You know how Marc Gasol broke his foot, Mario Chalmers tore his Achilles, Zach Randolph’s knee ain’t happy, Brandan Wright has a messed up MCL, and all the Grizzlies had was Mike Conley and some randos? Well:
And yet, somehow, the Grizzlies are on a roll right now. They beat the Cavs the other day, and they look like a lock to get the five seed and a date with L.A. Last night they downed Anthony Davis and the Pelicans thanks to a triple-double from Matt Barnes, 40 minutes from some guy named Briante Weber, and a career night from Lance Stephenson. I don’t really understand how this team’s record has an inverse relationship with its health, but the zombie Grizzlies have been one of the stranger, more entertaining quirks of this boring backstretch of the NBA season.
And Lance Stephenson, who’s perfect for the late-stage Grit ‘N Grind Grizzlies, is at the center of it all. He’s only been with the team 11 games and he’s come off the bench in every single one, but he’s their highest scoring healthy player (Matt Barnes is second. Like I said, they’re deeply weird). Every scoring outburst has been matched by an ugly-as-hell play, but that’s all part of the Lance Stephenson experience. Dude is gonna make some truly stupid plays, miss a boatload of layups, but despite his very obvious flaws, he’s probably the most talented scorer the anemic Grizzlies have, so as far as the rest of the regular season goes, it’s Lance time baby. He appears to be enjoying himself.
A Lance-Barnes wing combo is liable to have more fouls than assists most nights, but when it works, it’s ugly and oddly effective. I’m not going to pontificate on whether or not they can reclaim their identity and push the Clippers, because who cares, c’mon, Stephenson cosplaying a superstar on a weird, lumpy team is too weird and fun not to enjoy.
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