Do you enjoy quick whistles on offense fouls and terrible shooting? Then this is your type of game. I'm guessing whoever installed the lids on top of the rims will be getting a bonus. Neither team could get anything going at the start of the first quarter. Things finally began to swing in the Grizz's favor with the help of Zbo. He could not be stopped as he scored 8pts and grabbed 7 boards. The Grizz were up 23-15 at the end of 1 with Charlotte shooting a frigid 28% from the field.
As bad as the first quarter looked, the second was much worse. The Grizz did come out strong and was able to take a 14 point lead (which should have much higher). The Hornets could get nothing to go down in the paint and committed silly turnovers which the Grizz could not convert on the other end. Those lost opportunities proved to be costly as Charlotte went on a 9-0 run as the Grizz proceeded to miss shot after shot in the paint. In the last 6 minutes of the half, they only scored 4 points and a 36-30 lead.
Highlight of the half: Marc with a beautiful sky hook in the 2nd. If you missed it, don't worry, it will be on Espn.
Lowlight of the half: With the Hornets looking like they had never played basketball before, the referees decided to help out them and poor Cody Zeller who was trapped in a pivoting frenzy above the key. With nowhere to go, a ref blew his whistle to allow the Hornets to get another shot at making a basketball play.
I wish I could tell you things began to look better, but alas they did not. The Hornets actually missed their first 7 shots in the paint, which were all layups or tip-in attempts. The Grizz (mostly Marc) got things going early and pushed the lead back up to 10. Like in the 2nd quarter, the Grizz settled for bad shot attempts and allowed Al Jefferson and the Hornets to get back within 4. With just under 3 minutes to go in the quarter, Mike Conley finally ended his 0-10 shooting drought with a crucial layup and 1. Beno added one more fg and the Grizz lead 51 to 46 after 3. Yes...51 to 46... after 3.
Despite missing long jumpers all night, Vince Carter started off the 4th with a huge 3. After a few more turnovers and bad shots, the lead was back down to 3. The Grizz bench played decently defensively but settled for too many outside shots . Marc, Mike, and TA returned with 8 to go, but continued to miss open and easy shots.
Despite how poorly this game was played, the intensity really picked up towards the end. A defensive 3-sec call tied up the game with 4:20 remaining, and Al Jefferson's 100th non-call travel of the night along with a push off gave the Hornets their first lead. Marc tied it back up in the next possession, followed by a Kemba Walker 3 that gave the Hornets their biggest lead of the night. A long 2 by Mike was reviewed but not overturned into a 3 and a split pair by Jefferson extended the lead back to 2. Zbo "dunked" (and was fouled but not called) to tie it back up. A Conley turnover resulted into a split pair by Michael Kidd-Gilchirst to flip the lead back to Charlotte, but with just under a minute to go, a pick and roll with Mike and Marc generated an and 1 and 2pt Grizz lead. This proved to be the small cushion the Grizz needed as a Kemba Walker miss, a huge rebound by Tayshaun Prince, and a risky out of bounds pass shut the door on this ugly game and gave the Grizz a 71-69 win.
Highlight of the 2nd half: This is tough. I would have to say the Grizzlies' play down the stretch. Big baskets by Zbo and Marc helped prevent the upset by the Hornets to help improve the Grizz to 3-0 for the season.
Lowlight of the 2nd half (game): Kosta Koufos. Terrible shot selection, bad defense, and too many turnovers. Marc Gasol can't play the entire game, and Koufos has to be able to step up along with the rest of the bench.
Additional note: I don't know how Al Jefferson doesn't get called for traveling each and every time he posts up. Luckily he was finally called for it on the possession after the Grizz got their final lead, but still. It's ridiculous.
Stay tuned for a full recap from Keith Edwards!