Grizzlies Grades: Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Grizzlies 94 - Nuggets 92

STARTERS

Zach Randolph : (A-) 34 MIN | 20 PTS | 8-15 FG | 11 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 TO | +1

After a timid first half, beast mode Zbo surfaced onto the court during the third quarter as the entire Nuggets team seemingly tried to battle and contain Zach to no avail while his Grizzlies teammates continued to fed him at his sweet spots to cause havoc. Started to fatigue during the fourth quarter but came back into the game during crunch time to help maintain separation on the scoreboard. Missed free throws that could have sealed the game was the only lowlight for Zbo as the Grizzlies have simply been giving away far too many points on the FT line during the past month or two.

Tayshaun Prince : (C-) 29 MIN | 1 PTS | 0-4 FG | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 BLK | 1 TO | -6

Tayshaun's defensive-minded game just doesn't seem to be suitable if he isn't guarding a premier swingman on the opposing side. Prince seemed to lack aggression and settled for far too many outside shots rather than attacking the basket. Tony Allen (or JJ) were probably more suited to take on some of Prince's minutes as a back-to-back game for an aging veteran was seemingly taking its toll on Prince.

Marc Gasol : (C) 33 MIN | 13 PTS | 6-19 FG | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 BLK | 2 TO | -6

Marc's off night might have something to do with fatigue as his shots were literally slipping off his hands, causing some of them to brick badly. On a physically taxing night, his plan should have been to look to attack the basket first, and to shoot the outside shot as a secondary option. Gasol did not attack the basket with enough malice as he settled for way too many jumpers which weren't falling. Defensively both Mozgov and Faried were able to attack Gasol effectively with their quick feet and physical nature around the rim, preventing Gasol to take any swipes at the ball before their shots went up.

Mike Conley : (B+) 30 MIN | 19 PTS | 9-15 FG | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 TO | -7

Conley was effective all game with his tricky dribbling and mid-range jumpers, as he kept the Nuggets guessing all game with his evasiveness. He also identified a hot Zbo during the second half and made the correct decision by feeding Zach almost every time down the court, while still dribble penetrating to keep the Nuggets on their heels. Conley's dagger three which all-but-sealed the game has proven that he isn't afraid to take the big shot, even after some disappointing results during recent crunch time meltdowns.

Courtney Lee : (A-) 34 MIN | 19 PTS | 6-12 FG | 3-5 3P | 7 REB | 3 AST | +2

Lee absolutely needs to perform at a high level if the Grizzlies are to have a chance at causing higher-seeded teams trouble during the playoffs, so seeing Lee working his way back to form has been a welcome sight for all Grizzlies fans. His offensive spark is not only the key for the starting unit, by not having to rely on Miller as much will also provide some important long term benefits. Lee was also engaged on the glass, skying high several impressive boards for a guard.

BENCH

Tony Allen : (C+) 16 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-3 FG | 2 AST | 3 STL | -2

TA showed in this game why he is All-Defensive material by playing some pressure-packed defense as well as getting into passing lanes with excellent anticipation. Unfortunately his limitation on offense has slowly-but-surely started to put pressure on his teammates, as TA will need to find his offensive rhythm back quickly in order to fire up the bench unit once again. Bench production will be crucial going forward as the Grizzlies will probably need to win 6 more games in order to guarantee a Playoffs spot.

Nick Calathes : (A-) 18 MIN | 9 PTS | 4-7 FG | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 3 TO | +7

Calathes is quickly supplanting Koufos as the new "King of hyper-activity" for the Grizzlies. Knowing that his time on the court is usually limited, he simply plays with 110% effort to make the most from it. Calathes doesn't do anything in spectacular fashion but always gets in amongst it. Whether it's scrapping for a rebound, playing aggressive on-the-ball defense, sneaking in for steal, or cutting the lane for a layup, Calathes simply makes things happen with or without the ball.

Mike Miller : (C) 17 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-2 FG | 2 REB | 1 TO | +6

Ideally, Miller's minutes will need to be managed to under 20 minutes a game to ensure the shortened court time will provide maximum return for the Grizzlies. With Lee finding form again this is a great scenario to shorten Miller's minutes. Mike is starting to find it more and more difficult to get open shots as all opposing teams are well aware of the danger that he poses. By playing a slightly shorter amount of time, he should be able to become more proficient on both his shooting frequency and his desire to drive and finish at the hoop.

Kosta Koufos : (C+) 19 MIN | 6 PTS | 2-7 FG | 6 REB | 1 STL | 1 BLK | +2

Battled admirably the entire game and came up with plenty of hustle plays, especially on the offensive glass. However Koufos was unable to convert most of the opportunities that he created from his offense rebounds. His finishing around the basket will need to improve as it might be wise for Kosta to slow down mentally after an offensive rebound, load up the knees and go up for a dunk instead of flipping the ball around the basket. Once Koufos rediscovers his mojo around the rim, the Grizzlies bench should once again become a headache for opposing teams.

Ed Davis : (B-) 10 MIN | 3 PTS | 1-1 FG | 1 REB | 1 AST | +3

Two straight outings had me scrambling to find out when was the last time Davis got 10+ minutes two games in a row (last occurrence was early Feb). Played some mistake-free, high percentage basketball while on the court, which is exactly what should be expected from your back-up Bigs. Couldn't get back onto the court for the second half as the Grizzlies rode a hot Zbo the rest of the way, but encouraging to see Davis contribute twice in a row when his number was called.

OPPONENT

Denver Nuggets : (B-)

The ultimate bad-luck team of the NBA this season is currently running on fumes to the finish line, with the remaining healthy starters logging heavy minutes while being backed up by third string options. The Nuggets were able show good resiliency in front of their home crowd by continuing to fight back after going down big during the second quarter. Unfortunately they were never able to get over the hump by taking a lead, eventually succumbing to Randolph and Conley's late game heroics.

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