The game started with a Tony Allen jumper and a Luc Mbah a Moute post-up. That's when I knew it was gonna be ugly.
I actually lost count of how many missed lay-ups there were in that 1st quarter. I think the two prettiest plays of the night might have been Rudy Gay missed throw-downs.
Attractive or not, the Grizzlies got the win 90-80 (don't let the 90 fool you, Marreese Speights hit a three in the corner late). They kept a perimeter team on the perimeter all night. This one was never in doubt.
Memphis controlled the tempo against Milwaukee, who's best players are their guards. At least, their two best players are normally their guards. Milwaukee's talented combo of Brandon Jennings & Monta Ellis were 0-10 in the 1st quarter. The team, which also started Marquis Daniels and Ekpe Udoh, shot only 23% overall in that opening period. Yet, they had a one point lead to start the 2nd. It prompted Scott Skiles to say "it was a good quarter for us".....fitting for 'The Grindhouse'.
The Grizzlies promptly moved ahead of Milwaukee in the 2nd quarter and never trailed again. Ellis missed his first 12 shots, and finished with 4 points on 1-14 shooting. Jennings did manage to redeem his slow start by scoring 26, though it took him the same number of shots. He also had only 2 assists in the game...sad for a point guard.
Nobody really sparkled for Memphis. The guys just came to work and did their jobs. It was strictly business at the FedEx Forum on Wednesday night. Zach had 15 pts & 17 rebs...Marc added 12 & 12. Mike controlled the game with 11 pts & 6 assts, while Rudy gave the team a lot of energy in the 3rd. He scored 10 of his 14 in the 2nd half. Jerryd & Marreese were particularly aggressive off of the bench, and were a big reason for getting that 1st half lead. The two of them combined for 18 points in the game. Tony Allen also deserves props for his activity and his defense on Monta. TA was a big reason Ellis never got going.
My sources tell me that the arena crew had to re-paint the rims after the Bulls game on Monday night. Hopefully they kept some paint around.
This was a nice, playoff-style win for Memphis.
It's never too early to start getting ready for the postseason.