The Grizzlies had 8 players score in the quarter, forced 6 turnovers, outrebounded the Lakers 9-8, and finished the quarter on a 7-0 run. It felt like the Grizzlies should have a huge lead, but ended the quarter up a respectable 8, 31-23. 4 Grizzlies (Randolph, Prince, Conley, Lee) co-led in scoring with 5. The wrecking crew of James Johnson & Tony Allen came in with their typical high energy and seemed to provide a spark leading to that run to end the quarter.
The run continued into the second quarter, the bench having connected on 7 of 9 field goals en route to extending out to a 37-25 lead. After a 5 point mini-outburst by MarShon Brooks, the Grizzlies turned the D up a notch and Marc, Z-Bo, and Mike Miller pushed the lead out to 45-30. The Lakers struggled in half court but ran at every opportunity, and fast break points and three point shots kept the game from really getting out of hand for them. Mike D'Antoni seemed ready to exit the game via tech over an out-of-bounds at 2:39 in the half, down 58-43. The Grizzlies continued to build the lead as they closed out the quarter 65-46 for their best offensive half of the season. Wesley Johnson (12) and Tony Allen (11) were their teams' respective leading scorers.
Moment of the half: Gasol v. Gasol
The brothers Gasol matched up head to head and little brother came out ahead for the most part, including an emphatic shot block from Marc on big brother Pau. Pau did give Marc a shot to the mouth at one point and deked Marc into a cheap foul late in the quarter. Ah, brotherly love.
Player of the half: Tony Allen
The Grindfather came in with high energy and the defensive tenacity we've come to expect from him, only this time adding 11 points and 2 rebounds on 5-7 from the field and 1-2 from 3 in his 11 first half minutes.
The Grizzlies continued to beat the Lakers on the boards throughout the early part of the quarter, especially on the offensive boards with Zach and Marc. It was ugly ball, though, and a lot more up and down than the Grizzlies would prefer. Coach Dave Joerger took a timeout to regroup and refocus at about the 8 minute mark up 16, 70-54. The Grizzlies seemed more under control on both ends post-timeout on their way to a 6-0 run but then gave up a 10-0 run on some sloppy play to see the lead shrink to 76-64. The lack of focus continued on both ends as the Grizzlies gave up open looks and failed to execute on offense, the lead decreasing further to 7, 78-71. All in all, the Grizzlies were outscored 27-17 in a sloppy 3rd quarter to end leading 82-73.
After starting the quarter with a 3 to cut the lead to 6, Ryan Kelly did his best Marc Gasol impersonation, blocking shots and causing jump balls on multiple possessions. James Johnson was fired up and attacked the basket repeatedly, scoring 5 of the Grizzlies' first 7 to extend the lead back to 11, 89-78. The Grizzlies bench provided good energy and execution across the board, hustling hard to try to run LA's shooters off the 3 point line and attacking the paint on offense. Kosta Koufos played tough interior defense, dropped in a nice fadeaway jumper, and fought hard for 2 tough putback tap-ins in traffic. The Lakers continued to drill one 3 after another and cut the lead back down to 7, 102-95, with just over a minute remaining and it didn't stop there. 3 after 3 rained down, the Lakers shooting 15-28 for the game (54%) and cutting the lead down to 106-103 with 14.1 seconds remaining. A pair of Courtney Lee free throws made him the leading scorer with 18 and provided the final margin of victory, 108-103.
Moment of the half: Bloodsport destroys basketballs
James Johnson had 2 highlight moments, first with a full-speed fast-break two-handed putback slam, then flying out of nowhere to erase yet another long jumper from MarShon Brooks.
Players of the game: Tony Allen & James Johnson (AKA The Chaos Crew)
With the Lakers' lack of size for much of the game, the Grizzlies needed to attack on offense and defend their shooters on defense. While the Grizzlies struggled to defend the 3 overall, Allen & Johnson were the best on the court at both things and finished with 17 and 14 points respectively.
Don't forget to check out the GBB Live Game Recap at 10:30 PM Central!