The Grizzlies never make winning look easy.
Memphis lead by 17-points in the fourth quarter, but a late Los Angeles run gave the Lakers a chance to steal the game in the closing minutes. A Zach Randolph make with five seconds on the clock extended the Grizzlies' lead to five and put the game out of reach, as Memphis took a 107-102 victory to improve its record to 7-1 on the season.
1) The bench is alive!
The Grizzlies bench has not been good so far this season. Some might even say that it's been awful. But thankfully things took a turn for the better tonight, as Beno Udrih and Kosta Koufos put up impressive numbers with the second unit. Beno dropped 16 points on 8-11 shooting while Koufos added 14 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field.
Until tonight Memphis was the only team in the league to not have a single double-digit scorer come off the bench this season, but that changed when Beno reached the 10-point mark mid-way through the second quarter. The second unit's success tonight could be attributed to some adjusted rotations from Dave Joerger, who abandoned all-bench lineups in favor of those that included at least two starters to help the reserves along. Joerger also didn't go as deep into his bench as usual, with the struggling Jon Leuer not making an appearance until late in the third quarter and Quincy Pondexter playing only two minutes.
The Memphis bench scored a total of 38 points in the win, while the Los Angeles reserves scored only 14.
2) The Grizzlies might never blow out a team ever again
Memphis looked to be running away with the game in the fourth quarter, holding a 101-84 lead with seven minutes to go, but then became sloppy with the basketball as turnovers fueled a 16-2 Lakers run to cut the lead to three with just over a minute to go. The Grizzlies were able to close out the game and come away with the victory, but with a 17-point fourth quarter lead, the outcome never should've been in jeopardy.
This lack of blowout wins isn't a new trend either. The Grizz last won a regular season game by 20+ points on March 8th with a 111-89 victory against Charlotte*.
*Memphis actually defeated the Sixers by 20+ points on March 15th and April 11th, but if the only blowouts come against a Philadelphia team with only a handful of legitimate NBA players, does it really count?
3) Memphis wins despite quiet nights from Z-Bo and Gasol
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined to score just 19 points on 7-20 shooting, but that didn't stop the Grizzlies from scoring a season-high 107 points in the victory. The Memphis starting big men were bailed out by the strong effort from the bench. The starting back court also helped in the scoring department, with Mike Conley, Courtney Lee,and Tony Allen contributing 23, 15, and 12 points respectively.
While Marc and Z-Bo didn't provide much scoring, they still contributed in other facets of the game. Randolph hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds, and Gasol flirted with a triple-double, posting a stat line of eight points, eight rebounds, and nine assists.