The Grizzlies beat the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night in the prototypical "Grit and Grind" fashion. Marc Gasol led Memphis with 22 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Mike Conley added 17 and 11 for his third double-double on the year.
The game started off nicely enough, with the Grizzlies jumping out to an early seven point lead, despite committing five turnovers in the quarter. The Cavs cut it to 4 after one thanks to an Alonzo Gee Hail Mary. *
In the second, Cleveland was able to build a lead thanks in large part to a crazy free throw disparity. The Cavs were getting to the basket at will, and the Grizzlies interior defense was downright atrocious. Tony Allen, who was in full "Trick" mode tonight (only credited with three turnovers and one offensive basket interference, but boy howdy was he looking crazy tonight), made a nice layup and got fouled, making the free throw to cap off the three point play to cut the lead to just three.
At half time, Lionel Hollins clearly told his players that he'd seen enough of the porous defense. The Grizzlies started the second half on a 10-0 run and flexed their defensive muscle, allowing only 3 points in the first five minutes of play. Mike Conley had two of his five steals in the quarter, and the Grizzlies did a good job of forcing contested jumpers and keeping the Cavs out of the paint, giving up no layups in the quarter, and saw their lead balloon to 12 points after 3.
Cleveland would do their best to make a game of, as the Grizzlies allow all their opponents to do, cutting the lead to four points midway through the fourth. The Grizzlies however, led by Jerryd Bayless, who scored 11 or his 17 in the final period, would not let this one slip away.
- Austin Daye drew a charge on Mo Speights. It was fun to see the new #5 get the old #5 at his old game.*
- The five bench players (Wroten, Bayless, Daye, Pondexter, and Leuer) were a combined -24 on the night. Only two players (Wroten and Bayless) did not have a negative +/-
- Tayshaun Prince struggled from the field again tonight, shooting 4-12, and is shooting 36% over his last 4 games
All in all, it wasn't a pretty win, but with this team, it rarely will be. We aren't Nasim Pedrad. We aren't Emily Blunt. We aren't even Jenna Fischer. And that's ok, because the all heart, grit and grind Grizzlies currently sit 22 games above .500 and are a mere game out of 3rd place in the Western Conference.
*Hail Mary, indeed! Three quarters of the court and the net doesn't even move? Somebody's living right.
**Yes, this is as close as it gets to me complimenting Austin Daye.