If there's one sign that your team is moving up in the world, it's when you start getting the mail-in victories.
The Grizzlies played a Pacers team last night that didn't not have a single NBA starting caliber player, unless you count T.J. Ford or Dahntay Jones, and picked up the win. But, and this is a big qualifier, they also managed to give up 110 points to their opponent, a team that, at least on paper, is probably more than a little offensively challenged.
Can you blame Luther Head scoring 30 points on highly efficient shooting to anything besides the Grizzlies just planning on outscoring their opponents? If O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley's defense wasn't so bad regularly, I'd say there is no other reason than laziness.
And that's what this game was for the Grizzlies, completely lazy. They coasted to the victory, and maybe that's not as bad as it sounds. After the Celtics beat the Grizz at the Forum this month, I remember Coach Hollins saying that they played exactly as hard as they needed to until they turned it up in the fourth. That, my friends, is the difference between a team of winners and a team of overacheivers.
Rudy Gay certainly looked every bit the part of a confident winner tonight, returning from his ankle injury to go straight to the rack and score 31 points with 11 free throw attempts. And he didn't stop with scoring. Rudy also flirted with the doubling down by grabbing 9 boards, and he also threw in 4 assists, 3 impressive steals, and a block.
Marc Gasol also played well, with 21 points and 10 boards in limited minutes because of foul trouble. And Zach Randolph got his too, 28 points and 13 rebounds. There was even a 5 minute Hamed Haddadi sighting, though I would have rather seen much more of Hasheem Thabeet.
The guard facilitated well again tonight, not matching their total of 25 assists from last game, but coming close with 19 and very little help from Jamaal Tinsley off the bench.
Luther Head wasn't the only Pacer to have a career night though, Roy Hibbert is just screaming for a return to the Pacers starting lineup, double-doubling with 25 points, 13 boards, and drawing most of the fouls that limited Marc's minutes on the night.
Aside from rattling off stats, there isn't much to say about this one. The Grizzlies got up big and, despite some runs from the injury depleted Pacers, never let the home team back within 10 points. It was the teasing sort of blowout, the Grizzlies knew they won in the first half, but weren't about to put in the effort to finish the other team.
And that brings us right back to the laziness. A win is a win, this team is now 9-4 in the month of December, and they probably deserved an easy one.