Full Recap & Game Diary
Don't let the final score fool you. This win was nearly as ugly as the sarcastic-slow-clap victory from Saturday night in Charlotte. The main differences here were a stronger finish and much better support from
some of the Grizzlies bench.
It was like a game of Tetris, a scenario where you're doing the best you can with the crazy pieces the game is dealing. And they're coming for most of the game. You build the blocks up to 8 or maybe 10 or more stories. It's riddled with some holes, but you hope that fortune smiles wide enough to guide you through the mayhem. The music builds in tempo and intensity. You feel as though you're on the brink, an inevitable threshold that you've experienced before, perhaps dozens of times.
And right when you're about to implode and stack that damn square piece on top of a 3-square vertical piece, the breaks fall your way. The pieces start fitting, and the pressure starts to release as you remove layer after layer.
Then bOOm!@#, you line up a Tetris. It makes a very satisfying sound, one of those gems that can only truly be appreciated through 8bit sublimity. And in this figurative instance, the Grizzlies make some clutch free throws, grab some key rebounds, and you call it a night and move on to the next round. The blocks change colors but the game stays the same.
Final Score: Memphis 93 - New Orleans 81
- The Grizzlies came out with a purpose. There was a defensive presence early on in the game, and Memphis was not shy with physicality from the get-go.
- A crazy play from Tayshaun early in the game - he got trapped after picking up his dribble on the baseline. Attempting to summon the essence of Mr. Fantastic, he tried one of the craziest TP moves I've ever seen ... barely gaining air off a very ambitious and nearly marvelous pivot step towards the rim. My shoulders slumped in the usual reaction to such Tayshaunity, but -- he got better as it went on.
- The physical approach from Memphis paid dividends early in the game, getting Anthony Davis into premature foul trouble and giving Z-Bo just enough space to hit some pretty sweet rainbow "jumpers" over the Browed Freak.
- Quincy Pondexter's effort is overtly pronounced. It wasn't the cleanest start for him, but he's always giving everything he's got.
- Another barn burner brews for the Grizzlies as the 1st quarter ends with Memphis up 20-13. It's almost as though you need to learn to take supreme pleasure in holding teams to low-teen totals to really appreciate the Grizzlies. Wait, no .. it's exactly that.
- Vince Carter is an entertainer in addition to a really talented basketball player. He's almost trying a touch too hard in his time with the Grizzlies so far, but when he connects, the moments are so sweet that I don't even care about the crazy shots he's sometimes inclined to take. He really turned back the clock with an acrobatic layup to start the quarter.
- Anthony Davis playing basketball isn't really fair. Thankfully there're enough rules in place to help teams keep him in check from time to time. The guy is just otherworldly with his athletic ability combined with that physical frame. But! --while he showed up in highlights, Dave Joerger may have found a way to neutralize the kind of damage he did to Memphis last season.
- Marc Gasol's first shot and make came at the 3:50 mark in the 2nd quarter. Let that sink in. BTW those were his only points and his sole shot of the 1st half. But the Wendigo was merely stewing, fret not.
- Part of the reason the Grizzlies could get away with a first half slumber by Gasol was because Tayshaun Prince was sporting his A-game in a performance that makes me somehow question how much I've consistently criticized his presence on the team. It wasn't bad, folks. Maybe his fresh bill of health to begin the season provides enough of a boost in performance to make his minutes not as gut-wrenching.
- Another 1st half shout out to Beno Udrih who spelled a slightly gimpy Mike Conley (mild ankle sprain early on -- don't worry, we don't think it's an issue; he played the rest of the game) and was darting through crevices in the paint to get Memphis some severely needed bench scoring.
Halftime: Memphis 40 - New Orleans 33
- Tony Allen was a little loose on the fouls tonight. Early in the quarter, he was called for his 3rd foul and slapped the hell out of a cameraman's camera in frustration. TA signaled his apologies and the cameraman accepted -- he's the Grindfather, whatcha gonna do?
- A fiesty Dave Joerger starts jawing the ref after a Z-Bo no-call in a collision with Anthony Davis. He's promptly tech'd up, but it gets the crowd into what has been a plodding game thus far. I'll say this: David's not afraid of a tech. I can appreciate that about a coach, and I think Joerger knows the appropriate time to pull the trigger.
- Marc awakens. He knows his buddy Mike isn't 100%, and he does what any respectable Wendigo does. He starts eating faces and scores 10 points in the period. It wasn't his best performance, but he took the helm when it was needed.
- Hey, if you didn't know ... the FedexForum crowd really, really likes it when Vince Carter hits 3-pointers. Don't we all?
- Before I go any further, let's talk about Luke Babbit's haircut. Wait, no .. nevermind. Let's not and say we did. It's awful, it's f***cking awful. And that's coming from someone who has had long hair for the past decade.
- The Pelicans essentially sealed their own fate in this game, racking up 4 quick fouls in the first 3 minutes of the 4th quarter. The Grizzlies weren't hitting FT's at anything resembling a respectable percentage, but with the way NOP was struggling on offense, they could not afford to give Memphis what ended up being 12 FTA's in the final period.
- There was not a hefty crowd inside the Grindhouse tonight. It was a fairly tame bunch. I guess Memphis is still not impressed with New Orleans. But hey, I bet they show up once they start jiving on a 4-0 record.
- The Grizzlies ultimately won this game by having a more controlled physicality. They didn't get overmatched, and they made smarter decisions than the Pelicans did down the stretch.
- It also didn't hurt that New Orleans shot 66% from the line, 17% from three, and 34% from the field.
Post Game with the Joergermeister
- Dave Joerger was in a fantastic mood tonight. He took a plethora of questions and did so very willingly.
- Joerger compared the NBA Southwest Division to the SEC West in NCAA football.
- DJ was very pleased with the Grizzlies defensive effort, and singled out QPon for his focus and intensity.
- They play Ryan Anderson like a guard, giving DJ the confidence to go small for much of the game.
- I've said that Joerger looks and sounds more confident this season, and he affirmed that notion by declaring that this team is further along now than it was this time last season.
- Joerger isn't worried about the sputtering on the offensive end, and I can see where he's coming from. The issues that Memphis had last season can largely be attributed to a lack of intensity, especially defensively. The Grizzlies will always rely on creating offense from elite defensive play, and we're seeing the success of that formula with this 4-0 start.