|Final - 11.1.2013||1||2||3||4||OT 1||Total|
Tonight was the Grizzlies' season opener, and the fine folks at the Grindhouse got themselves some free basketball as this game went into overtime. The Grizz won this one 111-108, led by a 22-point effort from Mike Conley and 16 points from both Zach Randolph and Tony Allen. On the other end, the Pistons got 19 points from both Josh Smith and Rodney Stuckey, as well as 16 rebounds from Andre Drummond.
The Grizzlies, though never able to significantly distance themselves from the Pistons, held a decent lead for most of the game. In fact, they might have been able to pull away late in the first were it not for Rodney Stuckey's scoring off of the bench (eight points in five first quarter minutes, all in the paint). At this stage in the game, turnovers were a noticeable theme as the Grizzlies had seven and the Pistons had five. It led to a lot of fast break basketball, with quick outlet passes and decisive ball movement from both teams.
Tony Allen was the catalyst for a lot of these steals, and he finished with five steals to go along with his 16 points. Many of these steals fed into easy layups for Allen or his teammates on the other end. A familiar sight, maybe? Mike Conley and Zach Randolph both also finished with two steals.
On the other end, Josh Smith had quite the game. He finished with a balanced line of 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks. While there was a glaring difference in athleticism between himself and Tayshaun Prince, he was content to gun away with long-range jumpers for most of the game (and the Grizzlies were content to let him). Even though he tied for his team lead in scoring, he shot a wince-worthy 7-23 mark while going 3-11 on threes. One of his threes, however, was a timely make late in regulation that gave the Pistons a six-point lead (tied for their highest lead all game) with 1:09 left.
However, Marc Gasol had a big three-point play that cut the lead down to two after Conley and Chauncey Billups sunk two and one free throws respectively. A Greg Monroe tip-in was ruled offensive interference, and in the Grizzlies' final possession of the game, Gasol had a tip-in of his own, following on his own miss. Billups, who went 1-7 in the game, had an open look from three with one second left, but couldn't nail it to win the game.
In overtime the Grizzlies quickly took the lead and never looked back. There were some timely plays in the middle of the OT period, including a Tayshaun Prince corner three and a couple of layups, that built up the lead to as high as 9 points. Even as the game winded down, the Pistons were able to get a couple of easy layups in the closing minutes, but it wasn't enough to make up the difference and Detroit could only get within three even with a buzzer-beating Will Bynum trey. In his first game in front of the FedExForum crowd as head coach, Dave Joerger was able to squeeze out a solid overtime win.
The Grizzlies get the Dallas Mavericks next time out at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks lost tonight to the Houston Rockets and they now stand at 1-1, although that offense looks mighty scary. How Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon fare against the typically stout Grizzlies defense (though holes have appeared in the early going) could be interesting to watch.
Miscellaneous game notes:
- The Grizz struggled against dribble penetration. Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum absolutely carved them up, and the Pistons' big men were able to benefit off of poor rotations on drives.
- Greg Monroe wasn't so good on defense. He allowed Randolph to face up and shoot jumpers without giving too much of a defensive effort, and couldn't keep up with Z-Bo's frame down low either.
- Quincy Pondexter looks like he's starting to become too eager to attack the rim, passing up multiple threes in this game and not hitting his first (and only) triple until early in the fourth quarter. It's nice to see QPon expand his game, but three-point shooting is his strength and it's also something we need. If you've got the open shot, shoot it!
- Mike Miller played the entire fourth quarter and all of overtime. Sheesh. He'll probably fall apart by the sixth game.
- No Nick Calathes tonight? #FreeCalathes Jon Leuer and Jamaal Franklin didn't see the floor either. I was hoping to see Luigi Datome, Jorts or Peyton Siva from the Pistons, but they didn't get any PT from Mo Cheeks.
- At halftime, I appeared on PistonPowered's halftime show with Jameson Draper to recap the first half and preview the second half. Check it out! I also had a power outage during overtime for about half an hour, and had to check out OT on League Pass afterwards. Boooo.