The FedExForum in Memphis is known as the "Grind House." It is a major home court advantage for the Grizzlies and encapsulates a team that the city has fallen in love with the last three years.
Memphis has gone from NBA laughingstock — seemingly giving Pau Gasol away for nothing — into one of the most formidable teams int he Western Conference.
Maybe not among its elites, but certainly among the best teams in the league.
Lionel Hollins has created a style of basketball only a mother could love however in order to name that nickname "The Grind House." The Grizzlies are second in the league in defensive efficiency, and 28th in pace. This is not exactly a brand of basketball known as entertaining.
But it is effective. There is no denying that.
Memphis is among the contenders in the Western Conference even after trading away Rudy Gay because of their defensive identity. And so while others may dismiss their style of play as "ugly" or "gritty," Hollins and the Grizzlies can only say "Thank you."
"We stay in ball games and we make plays down the stretch," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said Sunday before his team's 108-82 win over the Magic on Sunday. "We don’t turn the ball over, but we turn other teams over. We get second chance points. We score in the paint. All the things that it takes to win we do.
"People knock the way we play or [say] we ugly it up. We don’t ugly it up, it’s just we come out and compete. That’s what we do, we compete every night."
And that is what the Grizzlies have done. They put in another stupendous defensive effort in shutting out the Trail Blazers down the stretch in a 91-85 win. Gritty indeed.
Memphis though still needs that little push to be back into the title hunt. They are fighting for home court advantage in the first round so they can take advantage of that atmosphere within the "Grind House." This is a team that plays the stereotype of Playoff basketball. The question remains though whether the Grizzlies can win playing this style or whether this is simply a nice team that wins in the regular season.
Still a nice team that wins in the regular season can be a handful for many. And sometimes they play some fluid offense to go with that grit.
Only time will tell if the Grizzlies can do more with it this time around.