It seems like I can't remember the last time I knew the Grizzlies were moving in the right direction. As I'm watching this game on League Pass, I can tell that the Memphis Grizzlies are starting to do something right.
The Mavericks played the Grizzlies hard during the first, and it actually looked like they outplayed them by a solid margin -- watching Rodrigue Beaubois, who I really like, dominate Mike Conley didn't help that.
But over time the Grizzlies began to adjust on defense. They started tipping passes. They began trying harder to exploit their advantages on the boards. They threw multiple looks at Dirk Nowitzki, which clearly frustrated him, and were smart enough to exploit Jason Kidd by matching him up against O.J. Mayo.
And Mayo killed the old man. He went 10-16 for 25 points, tipping and stealing several slow passes on the other end. Zach Randolph also played well and hard. Rudy Gay didn't stun anyone with his stat line, but had a team best +17 and was covering up whatever Maverick he was facing.
The bench gang were the real heroes though. Nobody's stats popped off the page, but Thabeet, Tinsley, Carroll, and Young all got into the game and logged meaningful minutes. Their play got the Grizzlies ahead in the second and helped them resolutely seal it off, something the young Grizz have trouble with in past wins.
The Grizzlies fired on all cylinders tonight, but it didn't feel lucky. Fans were in the Forum and these kids put on a show for them; how couldn't you feel good about that?
Rockness Monster: O.J. Mayo proved that as much as we like advanced statistics and should value other contribution, sometimes points are still king.
U-Turn: The Grizzlies three-point shooting tonight was spectacular, and it's something Memphis has really missed. Check out this chart by Ziller over at FanHouse; the Grizzlies shoot the three pretty inefficiently and also the least in the league. That's dangerous for a high-scoring, offensively-geared team. O.J. probably should shoot more, and so should Mike Conley once he finds his stroke.
Bitter Limon: Point guard is pretty much still a hole for this team. I know Mike Conley played the hero with 20 points in the win against Minnesota, but his defense is abysmal and he scored that many by forgetting about facilitating and only really pushing his offense. It worked that night, but it doesn't on most.