Apr 18, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph (50) drives to the basket against New Orleans Hornets power forward Gustavo Ayon (15) during the second half at the FedEx Forum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the New Orleans Hornets 103-91. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
I didn't get to watch this game live last night, but when I did check in at halftime, I saw that the Grizzlies were down. Having been through this a couple of nights ago, I assumed that I would see another Memphis lose this morning when I watched the game. As we've all observed thoroughout the season, our Bears have a disturbing tendency to play down to our opponents. Not only that, but New Orleans is the only bad team in the league that has consistently been able to take advantage of this (remember, they also beat us twice in the preseason). In any case, there was no real reason for concern because Memphis took care of business tonight; at one point they lead by 20 points and finished with 12-point lead.
Other than the slow start, there wasn't much to complain about in this game. No Grizzly played more than 30 minutes. The team shot 50% from the floor, including 36% from deep and 84% at the line. Further, they forced 22 turnovers and got out in transition. If you're going to nitpick, you could argue that the Hornets shot close to 48% from the field themselves; however, 1) many of those easy buckets came in garbage time, and 2) to their credit, many of them just made difficult shots, such as Marco Belinelli's shot from about four feet behind the 3-point line.
The most refreshing thing about this game was seeing Memphis come out with a real fire in their eyes. Rudy Gay, who many would accuse of drifting from time to time, was really out for vengence. He scored 24 efficient points in 30 minutes. Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, and Zach Randolph also were fantastic tonight. However, Mike Conley was the real star last night. He chipped in an efficient 20 of his own as well as 5 assists (with only one turnover) and 2 steals. More importantly, Conley was aggressive and looked for his shot rather than defer to his teammates as he is often prone to do. Conley and Gay both finished with a game-high +27.
While the outcome was expected, it was still comforting to see Memphis put on such a dominant performance. If the team can continue these kinds of performances while still resting their starters, we should be in a good place heading into the postseason.