When Marc Gasol wants to score, he scores. When Marc Gasol wants to keep you from scoring, you do not score. When Marc Gasol takes over a basketball game, it belongs to him and him alone, and no one can do anything about it.
Like every other game between these two teams, this one started with Marc Gasol and Matt Barnes going toe-to-toe. Gasol had 12 of his 30 in the opening quarter, and Barnes accounted for nine of his team's first 12 points. Memphis led 18-12, and the Clippers took a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Blake Griffin scored six straight points for the Clippers, trying to get himself established in the game. Despite his effort, the Grizzlies would still lead by five, 26-21 heading into the second quarter.
Behind Marc Gasol and their suffocating defense, Memphis would mount a 12-point advantage. The Clippers needed seven minutes to score six total points. While they were struggling to score, Tony Allen started to display his full range of offensive ability, and while it didn't take long, it was incredibly entertaining while it lasted. The Grindfather executed an absolutely jaw-dropping Rajon Rondo-esque ball fake around Big Baby Davis on his way to a lay-up, had a put back slam off a missed jumper, and even sank two free throws. He capped it all off with a spectacular brick on a wide-open 3-point attempt. The whole thing was glorious. Long live Tony Allen and his ability to make a wonderful mess of things.
After the two free throws from Allen, Memphis' lead stood at 49-32 with 2:10 remaining in the half. Los Angeles would get to the free throw line three times in the span of a minute, cashing those trips in for six points to eat into the lead, and trail 53-40 at the break. Those free throws would prove costly in the third quarter, as they served as the shot in the arm Chris Paul needed to get going.
The veteran point guard had 13 of his team high 22 points in the third quarter, helping to ignite the Clipper offense. After totaling 40 points in the first half, everyone's favorite floppers erupted for 32 points in the third quarter, cutting the lead all the way down to eight with under two minutes to play in the period. Thanks to some classic Beno Udrih hero ball, and timely buckets from Courtney Lee and Quincy Pondexter, Memphis immediately pushed its lead back to double-digits, as the Grizzlies used a 10-2 run to go up 88-72 heading into the final quarter of play.
Off of two 3-point attempts, Jamal Crawford would score a quick six points for his team to begin the period, but the Grizzlies used the 3-point firepower of their own to answer right back. In 46 seconds of game play, Quincy Pondexter, Courtney Lee, and Jon Leuer would each connect from long range, and the Memphis advantage was 103-78 with 8:17 remaining in the game. The Grizzlies would only score four more points the rest of the way, but it wouldn't matter as both teams emptied their benches over the last few minutes, and Memphis cruised to its twelfth victory on the season.
Game Notes from the Legend-wait for it-Diary
- Courtney Lee had a relatively quiet 13 points tonight, but was still 3/5 from long range. His offensive rating on the year is 138.6. Thank God none of us are general managers.
- There were no technical fouls handed out to players tonight. Both teams picked up 3-second violations, but there was no tomfoolery to speak of.
- I am not a professional athlete, and therefore do not have the body of a professional athlete, and therefore have no right to criticize anyone's body. That being said, Glen Davis should take off that powder blue sleeved jersey, put it into the "I have a dream" section of his closet, and never, ever wear it again.
- Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined for 7 rebounds.
- Nick Calathes returned from his 20-game suspension tonight, and while his minutes were negligible, Grizzlies fans should be very excited to see him back.
- Quincy Pondexter played some pretty great defense on Chris Paul tonight. After Mike Conley went down with two quick fouls, QPon was forced into action on Paul, and managed to hound the crafty Paul without repeatedly sending him to the line.
- Tonight was the third time in four games that the Grizzlies bench accounted for 30 or more points, all three of those games resulting in wins.
Memphis now faces its toughest test on the young season as they take their 12-2 record out west for a four-game road trip, including games against two playoff teams from last year, and the up and coming Kings. For now, they have a couple days off before heading to Los Angeles to face Swaggy P and the rejuvenated Lakers. Celebrate it up, Grizzlies' fans!