|Oklahoma City Thunder||45||35-10||.778|
|San Antonio Spurs||43||33-10||.767|
|Portland Trail Blazers||44||33-11||.750|
|Los Angeles Clippers||46||31-15||.674|
|Golden State Warriors||44||26-18||.591|
|New Orleans Pelicans||42||17-25||.405|
|Los Angeles Lakers||44||16-28||.364|
Guess what, the Grizzlies wandered into the land of Southwest Division wins, and now they've gotten the taste of victory. They've talked to themselves. They've communicated and said, "You know what, winning feels good! Let's go get some more wins!" They made that a reality tonight, smashing the Houston Rockets Saturday night at the Forum.
This game had everything: Nick Calathes 3's, stifling Grizzlies defense, half of Dave Joerger's shirt collar sticking out of his suit, a homeless man named Rich, Ty Burrell eating a tuna sandwich. But the most important thing this game had was our own Zach Randolph becoming the Grizzlies all-time co-leader in double-doubles. Huge congrats to the big fella, and thankful that it came during a win.
This one started off ugly. I mean, really, really ugly. Think Charlize Theron in Monster ugly, or Steve Buscemi in real life ugly. Memphis scored only 4 points over the first 6 and half of the game. Both teams showed clear signs of fatigue from the close matchup the night before, as they shot fewer than 35% for the majority of the quarter. Zach Randolph, seemingly knowing he needed a double-double to tie Pau Gasol tonight, grabbed 8 rebounds in the quarter. That was really the only highlight for either team, as they scored a combined 30 points, with Memphis leading 16-14 after one.
Memphis' first six points of the second quarter came on the broad shoulders of Kosta Koufos. The Grizzlies prized back-up center has seen his minutes decrease big time since Marc Gasol returned, but his number was called in this one, and he definitely delivered. His play keyed a 12-4 run early in the second to give the Grizzlies a nice cushion and a 30-23 lead. Midway through the quarter, things began to get chippy down low.
In the previous quarter, Marc Gasol and Dwight Howard got tangled up, and the foul was called on Marc Gasol. Both big men were clearly frustrated; either with the flow of the game or amount of Cliff Paul commercials or something, and tempers seemed to be very short. With 2:05 remaining, the two tied up again, this time with the result being Dwight Howard throwing Marc Gasol to the ground. The refs made sure everyone got up and no skirmishes ensued, and on the next possession, Zach Randolph lowered his shoulder and elbow into Howard, resulting in Howard having to shove him off, and after a Randolph flail, the refs issued Dwight another foul. After the dust began to settle, Memphis went into halftime leading 46-35.
Memphis opened up the second half on an 11-4 run, and would really never look back from there. Offense contributions trickled in from the entire roster in the quarter. Courtney Lee scored 9 points in the quarter, Zach Randolph added 7 of his 15, and Kosta Kofous chipped in another 6. The only offense the Rockets could muster came from James Harden, who scored 10 or their 19 points in the period. The Grizzlies led by 17 at 71-54 and looked primed to cruise through the fourth.
Memphis immediately pushed their lead to 20, and despite a small dosage of late 3's to cut into that lead, won this one going away. Nick Calathes and James Johnson paced their fourth quarter offense, combining for 11 points and 4 assists as the Grizzlies finished off their home-and-home with another win over Houston 99-81.
Game Notes from the Legend-wait for it-Diary
- Don't call him Nicky D-League, baby! The Grizzlies much maligned back up point guard has started to string together a few good games in a row, and is clearly playing with more confidence and less hair. The step back 3 he hit in the second quarter was a thing of beauty, even if 17,000 people believed he was probably going to air-ball it.
- Jon Leuer didn't get off the bench in a blowout win, and that hurts my heart. Jamal Franklin came in and played 5 minutes, which was just long enough for him to be the only Grizzlies with a negative +/-.
- The Grizzlies got 44 points from their bench tonight, including 14, 12, and 11 from Kosta Kofous, James Johnson, and Nick Calathes respectively.
- Does anyone have any idea or any information on the lady in the fuchsia skirt?
- The Rockets shot 32 three-pointers, and combined for 66 in the two games.
- Houston was also 0-4 from the line in the first half, and 12-13 in the second.
- Courtney Lee had 15 points again, on 5-9 shooting. Since being acquired, he's averaged 10 shots a game, and averaged over 15 points a game, and still hasn't missed a free throw. I don't see any scenario where the Grizzlies can start Tony Allen at the 2 with Courtney Lee on the bench.
- Mike Miller could use another vacation.
- Wag of the finger to the Starbucks on Madison. Left from Aldo's after the game to grab a warm beverage, and it was without question one of the five worst things I've ever tasted. It was a Cinnamon Dolce Not-te. It was a half and half, and both halves were garbage. Just awful.
This win takes the Grizzlies to 22-20 on the year, and they are 8-2 in their last 10 games. No rest for the weary though, as they'll begin a pretty stout west coast road trip starting in Portland Tuesday night. They've officially climbed over the .500 hump, and now they'll need to set their sites on clawing past a couple teams to get into the top 8. It won't be easy, and definitely won't be pretty, but it certainly looks like the Grizzlies are back on their grind again, something that should be very scary to any and all teams left on their schedule.
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