"You come back to a team that you won a championship with, and there's no greater feeling than coming back and getting that win," Tony Allen remarked shortly after the game. "Put all my feelings and emotions to the side and came out and did everything that Coach Lionel asked me to do."
Tony Allen stepped up to hold Rajon Rondo to 11 points and 10 assists in 40 minutes of play. His scrappy, gritty defense shortly became a symbol of the Grizzlies' performance in the Garden on Wednesday night. The performance wasn't the best basketball we've seen all year, but for some reason, it was good enough.
The first half was characterized by poor Boston defense. Despite a rare off-night from Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies, led by Mike Conley, dominated offensively (including a 15-3 run in the second quarter). Mike Conley, in his performance, again confirmed to Grizzlies fans (and to all of us in the GameThread tonight) truly how important he is to this team. He played aggressively, looked to hammer the lane with each possession, and seemed to have no problem going where he wanted to go when he wanted to go there. He ended the night with 23 points and nine assists.
In the first-half, the Grizzlies shot an outstanding 61 percent from the floor and 62.5 percent (yes the Memphis Grizzlies) from 3-point range.
The trend continued until the fourth quarter, when our offense collapsed and Boston gave a scare with a 17-3 run halfway through the fourth, led by eight points from Kevin Garnett. With under 5 minutes to play on back-to-back three pointers by Jason Terry, Boston looked to foul their way to victory, but was stopped when our boys made their foul shots like professional NBA players should.
With under three minutes to play and a scoreboard reading 85-78 Memphis, Garnett missed a pair of free throws and committed a foul at the other end, ending his night at 12 points and seven rebounds. In the same way Tony Allen was the symbol of our win, Garnett was the symbol of Boston's loss. Boston, despite a strong surge in the fourth, gave up easy possessions due to poor shot selection and passing. Memphis capitalized on the turnovers and managed to hold the lead without much more of a scare. In other words: we got lucky.
The loss was the fourth consecutive loss for Boston.
Couple things worth mentioning here:
- Our boy Darrell Arthur hit two (two!) three pointers (yes, three pointers) in the second quarter and looked darn good doing it. Who would've thought?
- Marreese Speights was a force on the court. The game felt better when he was on the court and lost a bit of quality when he stepped off. Reminded me a bit of Speights in the playoffs against the Clippers last season. He also hit two baskets at the beginning of the fourth to give the Grizzlies a 79-61 lead.
- Paul Pierce was hot. In more shining moments, he was on pace for a big game until the second half. He ended the night with 17 points, but only one basket in the third quarter and none in the fourth. He missed seven of his last eight shots. Again: we got lucky.
- Our transition defense looked great. Several times Rondo broke clear in transition offense, only to be welcome by 3-5 of our boys in blue to force the foul. Good, smart, hustled basketball shouldn't go unnoticed.
- The Kevin Garnett vs. Zach Randolph + Marc Gasol was great to watch. Big time aggressive basketball and fighting in every possession. He won the individual battle against Gasol (ended with only 5 nights and 7 rebounds) and Randolph (6 points, 8 rebounds), but couldn't win against them as a team. Was good to see Randolph and Gasol play unselfish defense. Says it perfectly himself:
KG calls Zach Randolph "one of the best forwards in the world" and knew their matchup was going to be like a "bear fight."— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBA) January 3, 2013
Question to the Readers
Wanted to continue the discussion we had in the GameThread tonight in the game: what does this year's Memphis team look like without Mike Conley and now a possible Bayless injury? Do we rely too heavily on Conley's production and command? What do we do about it? Leave your thoughts below.
Next 5 Games
|Portland||Fri 01/04||7:00 PM CST|
|@ Phoenix||Sun 01/06||7:00 PM CST|
|@ Sacramento||Mon 01/07||9:00 PM CST|
|@ Golden State||Wed 01/09||9:30 PM CST|
|San Antonio||Fri 01/11||7:00 PM CST|
Last 5 Games
|@ Boston||Wed 01/02||W 93 - 83|
|@ Indiana||Mon 12/31||L 83 - 88|
|Denver||Sat 12/29||W 81 - 72|
|Philadelphia||Wed 12/26||L 89 - 99|
|@ Houston||Sat 12/22||L 96 - 121|
An ugly win is better than a pretty loss. Right?