Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE
The Memphis Grizzlies game back after a preseason loss to the Houston Rockets to beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 97-94, on back-to-back nights.
Hey, no rest for the Grizzlies, right? It's often strange to see teams play preseason games on back-to-back nights, but the Grizzlies did just that last night when they went from Houston to Milwaukee to play the Bucks in their fifth preseason game.
It was an interesting game, seeing as Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Quincy Pondexter all sat out. Strangely, though, even without Randolph and Gasol, the Grizzlies were able to dominate the glass, 49-37, thanks in large part to Marreese Speights who had 16 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in 38 minutes. It was a fantastic showing by Speights, who is going to be an integral part of this team's offense, especially now with Darrell Arthur sidelined.
At guard, Wayne Ellington pulled another start and played well, except for the fact that he still can't seem to find his 3-point stroke, going 0-2 from downtown for the second night in a row.
Josh Selby, on the other hand, continues to simply do what we need Selby to do: he made 2-of-3 shots from beyond the arc and helped to keep the defense honest when he was on the court. That's all we need from him. Anything else is simply a plus.
The Grizzlies also lost the turnover battle, thanks to sloppy play by Rudy Gay, who contributed to 5 of the team's 18 turnovers. I know, I know it's preseason basketball and the game isn't played with the same sort of precision that it's played at during the regular season, but when you see our strength (the TO battle) become a weakness, it's a wee bit concerning, even in the preseason.
On the plus side, shooting 23-of-25 from the line was fantastic. You never want to make a huge deal about professional basketball players making free throws, but... we made 92 percent of our attempts! That's a big deal for us, especially when it's Gay (12-12) and Mike Conley (9-9) making nearly all of them. The aggressive nature of the free-throw statistic is what makes me smile.
In all, there's not much we can take away from the game, other than the notes above. Without three of our starters it's not as if we can pick any sorts of patterns out of games like this. Defensively, we're obviously better with Allen and Gasol in there, yet we still showed some nice looks on D without them.
The Grizzlies now get a bit of a rest, as they don't play again until... Saturday? Yes, they play on Saturday in Indiana. They're really making the most of the preseason action.
For more on the Bucks: Brew Hoop