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Grizzlies put away the Timberwolves on Opening Night while Marc Gasol flexes his dominance.

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For the first time since the franchise moved to Memphis, the Grizzlies won the first game on their schedule. On the strength of their two big men, who scored a combined 57 points, Memphis picked up a hard fought victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Night Recap

Hallelujah, the long wait is over! Not only did the Grizzlies return to our homes and our lives, they won their season opener for the first time in Memphis franchise history.

For Memphis, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Despite boasting what many people believe to be the deepest bench in franchise history, they were led by the broad shoulders of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. ZBo was virtually unstoppable on the night, going for 25 points and 13 rebounds, missing only the occasionally shot to remind us all that he's imperfect, mortal. It was a vintage performance from the big fella, and it was almost completely overshadowed by the clinical display put on by Gasol. Max Deal Marc (thanks, MeTweet) was better than he had been advertised this offseason, erupting for a career high 32 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. There won't be many teams that can guard the Grizzlies big men this season, and if they are both on their respective games as they were tonight, there aren't any.

Memphis came out slow, trailing 7-2 after an old fashioned 3-point play from Ricky Rubio, but would turn the tide in their favor thanks to an 11-2 run. Zach Randolph scored 12 of his 25 in the opening period, and the Grizzlies would lead by as many as nine before filtering in some of their bench unit and falling apart. Down nine with under five to play, Minnesota delivered a 16-5 run on the back of Mo Williams and Thaddeus Young to end the quarter leading 27-25.

In the second quarter, Marc Gasol would begin to flex his (newly formed) muscle. The big Spaniard scored eight of the Grizzlies' first ten points in the quarter to help them regain the lead at 35-32. Despite Memphis' offensive prowess, they would struggle to pull away from the Timberwolves thanks in large part to their inability to clean up around the rim. Minnesota secured 10 offensive rebounds in the period, and were within three points before a late Quincy Pondexter triple gave the Grizzlies a six-point advantage at the half.

Minnesota came out and scored seven points in the first two minutes to cut the Grizzlies lead down to just two. After a quick Grizzly timeout, Memphis would bounce back and boost their lead back up to double digits. Thad Young and Mo Williams would do their part to try to keep their team in it, but despite 12 combined points, Memphis still took a seven-point lead into the final quarter of play, and because the Grizzlies are still the Grizzlies, things would get interesting.

The Timberwolves came out and cut the lead to four points, causing Coach Joerger to call a quick timeout and break one of his markers in frustration. After the timeout, Memphis came out and took two jumpers while giving up a layup and an Anthony Bennett bucket, forcing another quick Grizzlies timeout. The Grizzlies would trail 87-85 with seven minutes to play before going back inside to their two talented big men. Gasol and Randolph combined to score 13 of the Grizzlies final 18 points, as Memphis held on to win 105-101.

Game Notes from the Legend-wait for it-Diary

  1. The Grizzlies got out-rebounded 47-33, and their bench got outscored 46 (!!) to 8. Not going to win very many games that way, and that's something you'd like to see them shore up over the next few days.
  2. I cannot express in words or any other form how great Marc Gasol looks and is. 32 points, 8/10 from the line, a couple of steals, assists, and blocks. If opening night is any indication of what his season is going to look like, he will get all of the monies from the Grizzlies front office.
  3. Tayshaun Prince: DNP-CD :-)
  4. Jordan Adams: DNP-CD :-/
  5. The Grizzlies bench was bad tonight, really bad, but I love the way Joerger managed the minutes and handled the rotations. I did not care for the 3/16 shooting though.
  6. Tony Allen is contractually obligated to provide an equal amount of both tricks and treats. He committed a silly foul less than 15 seconds into the game, then within the next minute, overplayed and gambled on defense to come up with a nice steal. He blew what would have been the most incredible Marc Gasol fast break ever, and 100% hit the bottom of the rim on a layup attempt. The Grindfather will never change, ever.
  7. *sighs* The Little Redheaded Girl...
  8. Vince Carter was a little too jazzed for the game tonight. His first shot attempt saw him drive through the lane at multiple T'Wolve defenders for a dunk/layup. It...did not work out. On the night, he was 1-7, 0-4 from 3, but did hit two key free throws to help ice the game. I'd be willing to be this is one of the worst five games he has all season, if anyone wants some of that action.

You can't win them all if you don't win the first one, Gandhi taught us that, and Memphis put themselves in a position to get off to a hot start by picking up a hard fought victory at home. It wasn't the prettiest game, because of course, but it definitely showcased several things that Grizzlies fans should be excited for as we unwrap the gift that is the 2014-2015 NBA season. Memphis now heads to Indiana for a Halloween affair with the Pacers, as they look to jump out to the first ever 2-0 start in franchise history.