Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Grizzlies won tonight in Brooklyn in the most Grit And Grind fashion possible, somehow beating the Nets on the road even though they only scored 12 points in the third quarter.
Tonight was, uhh, not a show of offensive brilliance, but it was a tough, physical game of basketball that saw the Grizzlies have to assert themselves defensively to overcome the stuck offense.
In the first quarter, the Grizzlies came out hot, and ran out to a 14-4 lead before the wheels came off. Once they were up double digits the rhythm of the offense completely disappeared, and the Nets were able to go on a run and come out of the first quarter leading 19-16. To start the second quarter, the Nets' run continued until it was 15-2 at one point, and Lionel Hollins started just throwing bench guys on the floor looking for a spark. Austin Daye and Tony Wroten both got some early burn, and Quincy Pondexter came in and started doing Quincy Pondexter things, stabilizing the team and calming things down.
Once the offense had stabilized, the Grizzlies started to reassert their control over the game, forcing turnover after turnover by Brooklyn, including a pretty nifty Mike Conley steal/Zach Randolph dunk with 2 minutes left in the half. Tony Allen was out on the floor doing Tony Allen things, causing chaos, picking up baskets when no one expected him to pick up baskets, and generally being a force for Grizzly good. The playing-with-the-rotation madness continued throughout the second quarter, with even Jon Leuer seeing some minutes. (Leuer finished with nothing but zeroes in 33 seconds of playing time. As if that were surprising to you.) The Griz took a 43-38 lead into the locker room at the half.
Chris Broussard interviewed Zach Randolph going into the locker room and asked him about the physicality of the play between Z-Bo and Reggie Evans, and Z-Bo said he and Evans had "been goin' at it since Portland and Seattle, man." Which reminded me that I forgot how old Reggie Evans is.
The third quarter played out pretty much the same way as the second: a long stretch of uglyball punctuated by brief flashes of life from the Grizzlies' offense -- guys making plays simply because no one else was. At the 7:00 mark, there was a Reggie Evans/Zach Randolph jump ball, and no one's nuts were grabbed. Reggie probably thought about it, though. The third quarter ended pretty much the same way the second did: the Grizzlies had a 55-51 lead. Yes, you read that correctly: the Grizzlies only scored 12 points in the third quarter. Fortunately for them, the Nets only scored 13.
One wonders when we're going to stop seeing this Grizzlies team score fewer than 15 points in quarters, but it seems that this is just something that this year's team does from time to time: completely sucks up a whole quarter, with nothing but rotten egg smell in the "point" column. That's a bummer, because at some point, it's going to catch up with them. It already has in the regular season. Hopefully it won't in the playoffs.
In the fourth, the uglyball continued, but Deron Williams and the Nets were able to score slightly less ineffectively than the Grizzlies, pulling ahead until Mike Conley finally tied the game at 72-72 with 59 seconds left in the game. For some reason, the Nets sat Brook Lopez down the stretch of the 4th quarter - presumably because PJ Carlesimo felt like the Nets were playing better with him sitting, but... you gotta think Lopez could have contributed something to put Brooklyn over the top.
Tony Allen got lucky when a goaltend got called on what was probably a clean block, but the goaltend was rescinded once the refs got a closer look at the replay. Allen then sank two free throws to put the Grizzlies up 74-72 with 19 seconds to play. The Griz caught another break when Deron Williams turned the ball over with 8 seconds left in the game and the Grizzlies up 2, and Conley went to the line for the Griz with a chance to put away the game. He sank both of his shots, too, and the Griz went up 76-72 with only 8 seconds left. Mike Conley got the rebound on the resulting Nets play, and the Griz walked out of Barclays Center with a win.
Somewhere, Tom Lorenzo is smiling inside while fending off troll after troll from his NetsDaily followers. That was a rough outing for the Grizzlies offensively, but a win on the road is a win on the road.