We're not pathetic! The Memphis Grizzlies survived Hurricane Ka-Three-na Friday night in Los Angeles to beat the Lakers 89-86 for their first road win of the season. Zach Randolph mauled the inferior Laker bigs for 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Marc Gasol came dangerously close to a triple-double with 18-8-8.
Things started off nicely for the Grizzlies, as they jumped out to a big lead, thanks in large part to Zach Randolph. The big fella had 10 points in the first quarter. He was scoring every way possible tonight, including the luckiest "shot" you will ever see in your life. When something like this is going in, you know you're living right! Tony Allen added six of his own for Memphis, and he was a perfect 6/6 from the field for 12 points on the night. Memphis led 24-17 after the first period, and would have had a larger lead if not for a complete collapse on the offensive side of the ball.
In the second quarter, things began to look all too familiar, as the Grizzlies failed to create anything at all on offense, and got torched on defense. Nick Young scored 12 of his 18 in the period to lead the Laker charge to get back in the game. And while it is true that again the Grizzlies failed to grit or grind or generally stop anyone on defense, the biggest concern was on the offensive side of the ball, where Memphis managed only 16 points in the frame, leaving the scored nodded up at 40. They were sitting at 34 points with 7:39 to play in the quarter, and managed only six more points the rest of the half. This would be bad against a good defensive team like the Heat or the Pacers. Against a team coached by Mike D'Antoni, that is downright pathetic.
Both teams would trade buckets for the first few minutes of the third quarter. Mike Conley, who had struggled throughout the first half, came out with a quick five, and it looked like he might take over. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies were still unable to string together consecutive offensive series worth anything more than a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin getting it on, and they would allow the Lakers to steal the lead. Jodie Meeks, yes, that Jodie Meeks, had 12 points, including two 3 pointers, to help the Lakers take a 66-63 lead into the final quarter of play.
The fourth quarter started off with more bucket trading, and I can't tell you how frustrating it was to watch this Grizzlies team barely managing to trade buckets with this Lakers team, and I probably don't need to, because you've been watching this season. Los Angeles' first 9 points of the quarter came from beyond the arc, and they led 77-73 with under 7 minutes to play. Then, ZBo went to work. The big fella went off for 12 points in the last 6 minutes and 13 seconds of the game, and had 14 total in the fourth quarter. Zach, with the help of Marc and eight fourth quarter points of his own, put the team on his back and carried them to an 89-86 victory.
Game Notes from the Legend-wait for it-Diary
- Tony Allen was a perfect 6/6 from the field, and despite a few mediocre/God awful performances, has been significantly better on offense this season. However, the trade off for how fall he's fallen on D simply isn't worth it. Jodie Meeks scored five points in the first minute and fifteen seconds while being guarded by Tony, something we've seen a lot of from the Grindfather over the past few games. We don't need Tony to touch the basketball ever on offense score. We need him to lockdown and harass whomever he is lined up against on defense.
- Mike Conley might have been a little too jacked up for the matchup with Steve Blake. He shot poorly all night, and pretty much just broke even on a matchup who should have won handily.
- Who had 9 games into the season before Mike Miller started to collapse in the office pool? Seriously, I started to get muscle aches watching him play tonight. All his shots were short and flat. He needs an extended break.
- Speaking of short and flat shots, the Grizzlies have a definitive black hole at the small forward position. With Miller's body continuing to betray him, and Tayshaun Prince being a terrible offensive player, and Quincy, though he played pretty decent tonight in his return to action, still finding his footing, they will need big performances out of Mike, Marc, and ZBo to make up for how little they get from that position.
- The box score claims that Jerryd Bayless played 14 minutes tonight. I'm calling BS.
- Shorter rotations again led to a Memphis win, but at some point, they are going to have to get better contributions from their bench. 14 points from four players simply won't cut it.
- Los Angeles was 10-24 (41.7%) from 3 tonight. Memphis shot 1-13, good for a cool 7% from deep. That's just pathetic all the way around. This team needs to draft, develop, trade for, create-a-player, or kidnap someone who can consistently make shots from outside soon. And by soon, I really mean this past offseason.
All in all, it was a baby step forward for Memphis tonight. It wasn't pretty, and there are still several things they need to correct, but after the week they just had, they will take any win they can get. And hey, anytime you can let Jodie Meeks and a guy who prefers to be called Swaggy P absolutely torch you and still get the victory, you have to do it. Every time. The Grizzlies stay in California and face the Sacramento Kings Sunday afternoon as they look to build some momentum and get back to .500 on the season.