clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Memphis Grizzlies Top LeBron-less Cavaliers, 96-92

New, comment

In between recaps of Cleveland's offseason and interviews with David Blatt and LeBron James, the Grizzlies beat the Cavs in a game of actual basketball.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

First Half:

In a word: Yuck. The Grizz started 6 of 19 and the Cavs weren't much better, but had a 16-14 edge after one. Joerger played pick-n-mix with the subs, at one point winding up with everyone's favorite Calathes-Carter-Tayshaun-Randolph-Koufos lineup. Things picked up offensively in the second quarter and the teams went into the break with Cleveland leading 44-42.

The highlights: A Calathes-assisted rhythm 3 for Mike Conley; a Gasol-assisted and-1 for Kosta Koufos at the rim; an easy steal breakaway layup converted(!) by Tony Allen;  and a beautiful Gasol-sling-pass to Quincy Pondexter who cashed in a 3. Also ran: Tayshaun Prince, who celebrated spot minute relegation with his favorite meal: a pair of delicious 21-foot bricks.

Second Half:

Calathes, Koufos and Carter played a handful of minutes together in the third quarter against a shapeshifting Cleveland defense ("That might have been a 2-3... or a 3-2..." -Master Hubie-wan). Pondexter did a good job of playing his 3-point game and drawing fouls, with 7 of his 15 points coming from the line. Carter dealt with the amorphous defense by simply driving in and drawing fouls, and isn't it nice to have someone who can do that without needing a high screen?

Leuer and Koufos helped the Grizz pull away in the fourth quarter with efficient play off the bench -  they combined for 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting. Cleveland made a game of it in the final minute, pulling within one -- but Calathes put the game on ice with a sweet layup with 24 seconds left and Leuer grabbed the game's final rebound off an A.J. Prince miss.

Assorted thoughts:

1) Vince Carter struggled in set defense, but make no mistake - he can still get up and block. He repelled two shots at the rim in quick succession in the first half. His defensive presence could be hit or miss this year, but I suspect he'll work as a shot-in-the-arm if nothing else.

2) If you haven't noticed, Zach loves introducing new faces to his patented fadeaway.

3) New-look Wendigo will be fuuuun to watch this year.

4) The Grizz missed 15 free throws. =(