Yes, Marreese Speights, that is a terrifying tattoo on Nikola Pekovic's left arm. Yes it is. Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
It was a nondescript game, yes, but it's just the kind that can sometimes be tough to properly focus in on. The Memphis Grizzlies topped the Minnesota Timberwolves, now shells of their early season selves, in Minneapolis, getting what they needed out of the night -- a win however it came -- with a little extra on the side in the quick return of All-Star Marc Gasol.
Gasol's night was forgettable numbers-wise (4 points on 8 shots, 3 boards, 3 dimes), but his 34 minutes of action certainly imply that the bone bruise that had him day-to-day, uh, a day ago, simply cannot be that serious -- why would he be cleared to play in a game without the threat of Kevin Love otherwise? Overall, his start and regular turn in the rotation suggest that Gasol isn't being rushed back because there isn't anything that bad to rush him back from, so everything seems to be peachy on that front.
More on the win, after the jump.
Rudy Gay matched Jose Juan Barea for high scoring honors in this one with 28, and Gay's 8 points and 2 assists in the decisive third quarter were key as Memphis came out of the half-time break a bit sluggish but by the end of the frame had seemingly assumed control of the game with an eight-point advantage. Alas, following Minnesota's rally to tie and briefly lead after the Grizzlies were stuck on 80 points for about six freaking minutes in the desolate middle of the fourth quarter, Gay scored nine of the team's final 11 points of the contest, sealing the victory and avoiding another ugly upset.
It was another nice reminder of the versatility that the Grizzlies have when it comes to the ever-essential fourth quarter scoring; Gay, Zach Randolph, and to lesser extents O.J. Mayo and (by former reputation, I suppose) Gilbert Arenas all can and have been the guy down the stretch for the Grizzlies or some other team at one point or another -- obviously, this is directed almost entirely at Gay and Randolph, though Mayo's had his moments this season, too.
Some teams struggle to slot one guy as the go-to scorer, and the fact that Memphis can look to two legitimate options depending on whose flow is flowing the strongest on a given night only makes them a more difficult team to figure out for opponents. This, and Gasol's apparent clean bill of health, could really come in handy when that postseason thing begins in just eleven short days.
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