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A Perfect Evening: Grizzlies 99, Pacers 78

What more can you ask for? We hit on both sides of the ball, had this game won by the mid-1st quarter, and the Hornets, Blazers and Nuggets all lost. It was, indeed, a perfect evening.

I was not at my computer when I watched the game, so I missed the thread, but thoroughly enjoyed watching us shake off that terrible performance against the Knicks to strangle a beatable opponent. In the thick of a run at the playoffs we couldn't/can't afford to lose these sort of games. Not if we're a playoff team.

On Thursday night we got on Mike Conley for his terrible defense, but last night he looked a tad bit better. Darren Collison did get some good looks from beyond the arc, going 2-for-3 from 3-point land. But there were plenty of good looks by Conley on defense. Collison finished the game with 17 points, but had zero assists to three turnovers. A.J. Price in his time at the point didn't fair much better -- 2-for-7 from 3-point line and zero assists.

As our friends over at Indy Cornrows mentioned, the Pacers were "due" for an ugly game like this, but I'm not ready to chalk this one up to the Pacers lack of intensity and not simply credit our effort. We held the Pacers to 26.9% shooting (7-26) from beyond the arc, which is huge for us. We also limited them to 11 assists and 20 turnovers, on 16 steals -- our strength.

While Conley looked good last night, the "big ups" performance of the night goes to site-favorite Tony Allen, who did what Tony do: a team-high19 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals, 1 block and just 1 turnover in 33 minutes. Tony was the early spark, the match who was not going to let this team succomb to a poor-performance-overlap.

Our bench looked good, not great. Greivis Vasquez played some quality minutes, yet he still needs to limit his turnovers, having coughed the ball up 3 times in just 10-plus minutes.

O.J. Mayo struggled a bit on offense, but had some nice moments on defense. Leon Powe added a little scoring punch with 9 points in 13 minutes. Darrell Arthur was very good, scoring 8 points with 7 rebounds and 3 blocks in 24 minutes. He continues to be a major factor in our playoff push.

Zach Randolph on paper had a somewhat quiet night by his recent standars, but he made the buzzworthy Tyler Hansbrough come back down to earth with his play on the defensive side of the ball. Hansbrough had 14 points and 5 rebounds -- modest numbers.

If I can point out one negative from this game, it's our continued inability to hit threes. We went 0-for-9 in this one, and I won't nitpick since we didn't need the three-ball to strangle the Pacers, but we still do need to address out inept ability to hit threes. Again, it's hard to complain in a blowout victory, but we do need to start talking about three-point shooting. Not just on the defensive side of the ball, but offensively.

Next up is a big game against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. We are 1.5 games ahead of the Jazz for that final spot out West, and with Paul Millsap expected back on Sunday, they have no excuses with a healthy roster. We need to stay focused and continue to play stellar defense, exploiting the wings.

Until then, though, let's bask in this great victory.