Almost a third of the way through the NBA season, the Coach of the Year award shouldn't be close: So far, it belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies' David Fizdale.
Despite missing Zach Randolph and Mike Conley for two weeks apiece (the latter will be out much longer) and getting virtually nothing from injured free-agent signing Chandler Parsons, the first-year head coach has the Grizzlies at 17-8 and a half-game out of the third seed in the Western Conference.
On Saturday night, they notched a signature win—a 110-89 blowout of the first-place Golden State Warriors, ending the Dubs' four-game winning streak and extending their own streak to six.
They did it the same way they've succeeded all season: behind their defense.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson struggled from the field, shooting 4-for-14 each. Thompson scored eight. Curry scored 17, turned the ball over four times (to just three assists), and had a game-worst -24 plus-minus.
He also suffered the receiving end of the demoralizing defensive play of the game: this brutal block from wing Troy Daniels.
"We weren't on the same page. We were trying to force too many things," said Thompson, whose Warriors dropped to 20-4.
"(The Grizzlies) definitely took us out of our rhythm early, and we let that affect us on the offensive end and the defensive end."
As he has for the entire season, Marc Gasol led the way for Memphis, notching 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and a steal.
"We stayed poised, we stayed in control, we stayed aggressive," Gasol said. "We played to win. We didn't play not to lose."