Grizzlies 111 - Bobcats 89
Zach Randolph : (B+) 31 MIN 16 PTS 5-7 FG 7 REB 3 AST 1 STL, +17
Zbo was hitting his shots from outside early, when that happens he is nearly unstoppable, as there weren't any Bobcats that could match his physicality. Was able to draw plenty of fouls to frustrate the Bobcats big men. Another area that he's vastly improved this year is his passing, something that's rarely mentioned but extremely underrated.
Tayshaun Prince : (D+) 18 MIN 4 PTS 2-5 FG 2 REB 1 AST 1 STL 1 BLK 1 TO, +5
It's very hard to comment on Prince's performance in general because he just never stands out in any way, a somewhat improvement from his last two games by finishing a play and hitting a jumper, but still easily provides the least amount of value out of all rotation players.
Marc Gasol : (B+) 25 MIN 14 PTS 5-12 FG 9 REB 3 AST 2 BLK 2 TO, +18
Seems like this "new" Gasol is here to stay. Looked to put up shots early and often, cleaned up the backboards and drove the lane hard and smart. Bobcats players were clearly hesitant to drive the lane against Gasol after getting multiple drives rejected or altered. I can get used to this Gasol, who is impacting the game both on and off the boxscore.
Courtney Lee : (B) 27 MIN 9 PTS 4-6 FG 4 REB 2 AST 1 STL 1 BLK, +21
Rejuvenated himself by taking only wide open shots and layups to get back into the groove. The added confidence also translated well into other areas of his game like defense and rebounding. Really nice too see all the starters take extended rest while the bench was able to retain their lead.
Mike Conley : (B-) 30 MIN 20 PTS 7-18 FG 3 REB 4 AST 2 STL 2 TO, +15
Hitting several timely 3 pointers which deflated the Bobcats' psyche throughout the game was the highlight for Conley. His finishing around the rim is still an issue, as he needs more arc when he pulls up with his right hand, currently the ball is bouncing too hard off the backboard on his one handed attempts. Mike is my favorite NBA player but for him to really take the next step, he must learn to finish with efficiency like a Tony Parker or Goran Dragic.
Tony Allen : (B+) 22 MIN 8 PTS 4-6 FG 6 REB 4 AST 2 TO, +12
I'm beginning to sound like a broken record every time I talk about TA, that he is (A) an absolute nightmare for opponents night-in, night-out with his hustle and positioning, but (B) he is shooting free throws atrociously right now. Needs to work on his FT arc and perhaps making his work ethic more infectious on his teammates?
James Johnson : (N/A) 5 MIN 0 PTS 0-0 FG 1 REB 1 TO, -4
Hope this doesn't become the norm for JJ, not only he is far too good to just be playing garbage minutes, this is also not the way to convince a free-agent-to-be to re-sign with you. I personally think the Grizzlies are not far away from being a dominating force in the NBA with the way that our bench is producing right now, the only tweak left is to make our starting unit absolutely formidable. Please put JJ into the starting unit on a trial basis, what's there to lose?
Nick Calathes : (C) 18 MIN 2 PTS 1-5 FG 2 REB 1 AST, +7
His jump shot has regressed alarmingly as soon as he we went back to the bench unit. Needs to stay balanced on his jumper as his tendency to rush and lean on his shot lately is reaping some serious bricks. He is however a part of an extremely hot bench unit which includes Koufos, Miller, TA and Leuer. Joerger needs to continue with this unit until an opponent can prove that they can be stopped.
Mike Miller : (B+) 20 MIN 8 PTS 3-4 FG 1 REB 3 AST, +9
The Grizzlies' much improved offensive efficiency since early February is directly related to Miller's recent hot streak. Not only he is unloading the clip and hitting at a ridiculous rate, he is also forcing his man to stick to him like glue, thus opening up the lane big time for the rest of his teammates. Tweaked his ankle in the 2nd quarter but thankfully came back to finish the game.
Kosta Koufos : (B+) 19 MINS 12 PTS 5-11 FG 10 REB 2 TO, +3
Finally had a human-like 1st half where he was having difficulty matching Biyombo's energy and explosiveness, but came back with a vengeance in the 4th quarter. A couple of dunks set up by Miller got him going and outsmarted Biyombo's raw athleticism the rest of the way. A little too foul-prone against the opposing guards but still loved his enthusiasm. At least half the league will wish they could have Koufos in their starting lineup.
Jon Leuer : (B-) 17 MINS 10 PTS 5-8 FG 5 REB 1 AST 1 STL 1 BLK, +5
His versatile offense is well documented, but he is undoubtedly a minus-defender. Not quite quick enough against stretch fours, not quite strong enough against traditional power forwards. Luckily he plays for the second unit, which matches him up against opposing backup 4s more often than not so his defense won't be exploited as much. Too late to do anything about his defense this season, but some offseason strengthening and conditioning could turn him into a monster and make Ed completely dispensable.
It's official - Ed has now been reduced to garbage minutes alongside Udrih. I feel a little sorry for Ed as he is definitely a victim of lack of consistent minutes due to the ridiculous depth that the Grizzles currently have, however some of the blame still has to go on him as his lack of development has made his game way too predictable. Udrih made some threes to pad our three point stats, the Griz are now almost an average three point shooting team for the season in terms of percentage, which I never thought was possible 30 games into the season.
Charlotte Bobcats : (D)
Got run off the gym in the 2nd half as they could not stop anyone on the defensive end. Kemba and Al both had below average games on both ends. Their new acquisitions Ridnour and Neal did more harm than good. Dependable 3rd option Gerald Henderson was sorely missed as no one else could consistently threaten the rim , which gave the Griz a license to crowd Kemba and Al into lower percentage shots.