THE STREAK. IS. OVER.
The Grizzlies were 0-13 in season openers since moving from Vancouver to Memphis, starting out every single season in the Bluff City with a losing record — until tonight. The Grizz took down the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-101 behind 32(!!!) points from Marc Gasol. Here's three things I took away from the game:
1) The more aggressive Marc Gasol
Just look at that play. Okay, done? Now look at it again. It's wonderful. I don't know if Marc Gasol makes that play last year. Old Marc Gasol tries to feed that ball to Jon Leuer as soon as he gets it. Not this Marc Gasol.
Look at Mo Williams. He rushes over to seal off the passing lane to Leuer, sees Marc start to take off and immediately leaps out of the way because MO WILLIAMS IS HAVING NO PART OF THIS POSTER.
Grizzlies fans have long hoped for Gasol to be more aggressive on offense, and Big Spain himself said prior to the beginning of the season that this was a goal for him. And with a career-high of 32 points on an absurd 12-17 shooting, at least through the first game it appears that Aggressive Marc is an actual thing that's arrived and is here to stay.
2) Rebounding struggles
In the first half the Grizzlies were swarming defensively and making life difficult for Minnesota, holding the Timberwolves to 38 percent shooting from the field, but were unable to finish out the possessions after missed shots. The Wolves out-rebounded Memphis 29-20 in the opening half, and Minnesota pulled down 14 offensive rebounds. A few of those rebounds were from long bounces following jumpers, but a team doesn't just have 14 offensive rebounds fall in its lap in a half.
For the most part the problem on the boards seemed to stem simply from a lack of boxing out. Especially in the first half the Wolves just had more bodies under the basket after seemingly every shot, and Minnesota also got some boards off missed transition opportunities as the Grizz simply got beat down the floor.
The offensive rebounding situation was slightly improved in the second half, although the Wolves still managed to pull five down over the game's final 24 minutes. The Grizz were ultimately out-rebounded 47-33, and Minnesota hauled in 19 offensive rebounds to Memphis' 10.
3) This was fun
Oh man I've missed this.
The Grindhouse was rocking. Z-Bo was Z-Bounding. Tony Allen was a madman. Marc Gasol was looking like the best center in the NBA. My Twitter timeline was popping. Sean Tuohy and Brevin Knight were dropping "we's" and "our's" like they were on the court in Grizzlies uniforms.
I loved every second of it. Get ready, because we've still got 81 more of these, and you better believe I'm gonna love every single minute of it.