Zach Randolph : (A-) 36 MIN | 18 PTS | 7-18 FG | 13 REB | 1 AST | 1 TO | +11
It would be safe to say that David West, Ian Mahinmi and Luis Scola were not prepared for the Zbo attack when they got out of their respective beds yesterday morning, as they'd be having nightmares about the biggest Z-Bully on the block after last night. Randolph completely outworked and outmuscled the Pacers' frontcout, dishing out punishment at every opportunity, especially on the glass. David West was so engulfed by the physical nature of Zbo, he played with frustration and fatigue and was completely rendered ineffective the entire game. What a great night of physical intimidation from Zach.
Tayshaun Prince : (B-) 19 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-6 FG | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | +4
Let's just go ahead and give Prince an F for his offense by default to save everybody the suspense, but his job on the defensive end was really something to behold. Two nights ago Prince made LeBron James look downright average, and last night he made Paul George look absolutely awful. These two are undoubtedly the two most outstanding players in the Eastern Conference, and Prince was able to frustrate both of them into submission. Credit is given where credit's due.
Marc Gasol : (B+) 39 MIN | 10 PTS | 4-11 FG | 9 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | +16
After last night, I have no doubt that Marc Gasol is the best Center in the NBA (when he wants to be). Offense, defense, playmaking, you name it, he's right up there on every aspect of the game. Fellow giant and All-Star C Roy Hibbert was plagued with foul trouble and could not even grab a single rebound, it's no co-incidence that Gasol got into his head, confusing him with gritty defense and nimble offense, all this on a tender ankle. Terrifying thought for all opposing teams.
Courtney Lee : (C+) 25 MIN | 4 PTS | 2-3 FG | 2 REB | +6
Had trouble containing the more physical and dynamic Stephenson, but was able to create a highlight-reel crossover and reverse layup on the break in the 1st. His long-range shot will need to fall more regularly coming towards to end of the regular season in order to create even more balance for the starting lineup.
Mike Conley : (A-) 32 MIN | 21 PTS | 9-15 FG | 5 REB | 4 AST | 2 TO | +10
Started and finished the game hot as Conley had an absolute field day from mid range. The Pacers frontline were hesitant to leave their men on the pick-and-roll and Conley simply made them pay time and time again. Did a great job frustrating George Hill into chasing him around and taking tough shots on offense, a welcome sight to see after a subpar game the previous night.
Tony Allen : (B-) 24 MIN | 7 PTS | 3-7 FG | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | +9
Grizzlies play-by-play announcer Pete Pranica joked that "Tony Allen is a high wire act without a net". It couldn't have described TA's game any better. His typical chaotic hustle created several great opportunities, in which he cashed in on some while swinging and missing on others. His passing has been uncharacteristically floaty and lazy recently, which needs to be addressed by a player that typically plays with so much force and certainty. His recent excitement on offense is almost overshadowing his bread-and-butter defense, where he played a big hand in coaxing Paul George into a very poor night.
Nick Calathes : (C+) 16 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-3 FG | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 TO | +2
Didn't really get into the flow of the game on offense as the defensive pressure coming from the Pacers was overwhelming him. However he was able to be very disruptive on the defensive end, staying in front of his man and getting into passing lanes shrewdly. Such pleasant development on both ends of the floor has given the Grizzlies bench a massive boost overall.
Mike Miller : (A) 25 MIN | 13 PTS | 4-7 FG | 4-6 3P | 6 REB | 2 TO | +10
Miller is up to third in the NBA in three point shooting percentage, only .001 behind second place. He is now living up to all the lofty expectations at the beginning of the season, plus as an added bonus, he has been super durable this year AND the Heat are paying for most of his salary. It's like hitting the jackpot with house money. Nothing is more awesome than hearing: "Miller fires..... IT'S THROUGH!!"
Kosta Koufos : (C+) 20 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-4 FG | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 BLK | -1
Missed a few easy opportunities by using too much finesse than what was required. However he was also part of a team-wide clamp down on defense, in which no Grizzly allowed any Pacer to get anything easy the entire night. Looks like Kosta will be the only backup big man to get consistent PT going forward, so he will need to look after his body and be well prepared night in - night out.
It doesn't really matter how much the Grizzlies fans kick and scream about this issue, it appears this 9-man rotation is set. JJ and Leuer are the odd men out and will only get situational minutes from this point forward. Ultimately this is good preparation by Joerger for the playoffs where the rotation is typically shortened, plus the Grizzlies are on a tear with the current setup. My only hope is that lineup tweaks will be made for next season (goodbye, Prince & Ed. Hello, rotation JJ & Leuer + Pondexter).
Indiana Pacers : (E)
The Pacers were totally embarrassed by the defensively-engaged Grizzlies last night as they over-dribbled their way right into an absolute mauling. They have been in some major funk which not-so-coincidentally started when Paul George began to struggle mightily with his shot. The thing is, George has always had a tendency to take too many difficult shots for a player that's so physically gifted, but by making a ton of them earlier in the season has really set an unsustainable precedence for him. Luckily, the Pacers are still in the box seat for the #1 seed in the East which they absolutely have to have. Two more games against the Heat will likely settle the East's seeding so they will need to regroup as quickly as possible.