3 Things from Grizzlies vs. Pelicans
The Memphis Grizzlies delivered another outstanding defensive performance, taking down the New Orleans Pelicans 93-81 to take the Grizz to 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. Here are my three takeaways from the win:
1) The Grizzlies defense is as good as it's ever been
At the end of the first quarter, the Pelicans had 13 points, and none of them came easily. With the exception of the Minnesota game to start the season, the Grizzlies have been playing unbelievable defense this year — even for Memphis' high standards. In the first quarter tonight, all five members of the starting lineup were moving on a string defensively. The Pelicans started the quarter by missing three straight heavily contested shots before Tyreke Evans finally dropped in a triple from the right wing with Tayshaun Prince draped all over him. The Pelicans were finally on the board, but it's a shot the Grizzlies are probably fine with giving up.
Memphis held New Orleans to 28 percent shooting in the first half and 34 percent for the game. The Grizzlies have held their last two opponents to a total of 150 points. That's pretty darn good.
2) Dave Joerger just kinda forgot he was supposed to be coaching a basketball game in the third quarter
The following are real tweets that could be found on Twitter in quick succession during the third quarter of tonight's basketball game:
this game is an absolute mess— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) November 4, 2014
Everything about the last 7 minutes of basketball have just flat out pissed me off.— Kevin Lipe (@FlyerGrizBlog) November 4, 2014
What're you doing Dave?— Jonah Jordan (@jmj1757) November 4, 2014
JOERGER MAKE A DAMN ADJUSTMENT— Austin Reynolds (@ReynoldsRant) November 4, 2014
Joerger played the starters for the first eight minutes of the quarter. This would be fine, except that Courtney Lee is still out with a concussion and the starting lineup featured Tayshaun Prince. Prince was actually really good tonight, putting up 14 points and 5 rebounds on 6-12 shooting, but we have a rather hilariously large sample size of data that says Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince absolutely cannot play together under any circumstance because it is a spacing nightmare.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams quickly picks up on this and switches his defense into a 2-3 zone. The Grizzlies offense then totally stagnates. It is painful to watch. The Grizz throw it into Z-Bo in the paint who is instantly surrounded by a flock of Pelicans. That actually happens whenever any Grizzly steps into the paint, because Conley is the only perimeter shooting threat on the floor.
Minutes pass. Joerger still makes no adjustments. The offense still struggles to do absolutely anything. New Orleans briefly takes their first lead of the game. Then, with 4:54 to go in the quarter, Joerger finally does something. He subs in Quincy Pondexter for Tayshaun Prince. The Grizzlies instantly go on a 12-1 run to extend the lead to double digits. These are the kinds of things that just absolutely infuriate you as a basketball fan.
Bonus enraging Joerger moment of the game: With 23 seconds to go in the third quarter Memphis rookie Jordan Adams finally made his regular season debut... and was then removed from the game to start the fourth quarter. Dave Joerger was not exactly the most popular man on Grizzlies Twitter tonight.
3) Jon Leuer is broken
Jon Leuer played only six minutes tonight, scoring two points from the free throw line and going 0-3 from the field. All three attempts were mid-range jumpers on the right side of the court, and he bricked every one of them short. The final shot wasn't even close. Tonight's performance is the latest in a string of disappointing games for Leuer, who's now shooting just 1-12 for the season. After a good showing in the preseason, Leuer was expected to have a breakout year and become a key member of the Grizzlies rotation, but if he doesn't get things turned around quickly then Joerger may decide to start looking towards rookie Jarnell Stokes in the near future.
Here are two of the biggest highlights from the game, an absolutely ridiculous Anthony Davis put-back slam and a Tayshaun Prince dunk that helped extend the lead late in the fourth quarter.