As the picture above depicts, Head Coach David Joerger wasn't trying to hear Grizzlies fans panic after playing a meager five games. This team has been laden with issues early in the season, but tonight they were near flawless.
Everybody in a Grizzlies uniform was great tonight, but perhaps the two most welcome performances came from the twin towers down low in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Randolph finished with 23 points and 11 boards, and he looked like the 2011 version of himself. The Grizzlies certainly hope to see more of that going forward. Gasol put up 18 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and also added 3 blocks. The two asserted themselves on the game and made their presence felt all night as they took it to the Warriors overmatched front court. If you looked up tonight, odds are Gasol and Randolph were doing something of note.
Tony Allen and Mike Conley also deserve immense praise for how they handled Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Splash Bros were doing everything they could to get open. They used ball screens, ran off down screens, and attempted to create space off the dribble, but everywhere they looked either Allen or Conley was in their face. Well done by the Grizzlies defensive stalwarts.
Joerger patched up some of the issues by shortening the rotation to just eight players rather than playing ten, eleven, or even twelve. The Grizzlies are a visibly stronger team when the same group gets to stay on the floor for an extended period of time. As crazy as this sounds, the Grizzlies do better when they employ less of their depth. The guys that played tonight just have such a cohesiveness about them that needs to be taken advantage of.
The Grizzlies turnover issues persist, as they committed 16 tonight. That's not terrible since they forced 17 turnovers from Golden State, but that number still needs to be trimmed some as Memphis can't count on an offensive outburst like this every single night. The execution was night and day better tonight than it was in the first five games of the season. The ball movement was crisp, the work to get good entry passes was superb, and the defensive rotations were somewhat shored up as well.
Hopefully this win will be a springing board for the Grizzlies that propels them to return to their form from last season. Memphis played its first complete game of the Joerger era, and they got a much deserved result. It's still too early to tell what this Grizzlies team is or how good they can be, but tonight was a big step towards forward progress under a new regime, head coach, and a remodeled roster. For now, Bluff City can breathe a sigh of relief. Go Grizz!