The Grizzlies and Hornets played 48 minutes of incredibly mediocre basketball, but that all changed when Charlotte's Gerald Henderson converted a ridiculous tip-in at the regulation buzzer, and the two teams played 10 memorable minutes of free basketball.
Here are my three takeaways from Memphis' 113-107 double overtime win:
1) Kemba Walker and Gary Neal Went Crazy
On a night in which most of the Hornets struggled, Kemba Walker and Gary Neal put the team on their backs to push the Grizzlies to double OT in the Grindhouse. Walker came into the game shooting 27 percent from behind the three-point line, but torched Memphis from downtown, shooting 4-7 on threes, including four of his first five. Neal poured on 25 points on 8-15 off the bench, and knocked down several difficult, contested shots. Most of Neal's field goals were feats of ridiculous shot-making instead of products of poor Memphis defense, and as the game transitioned into the overtime periods, he began to cool off.
Outside of Walker and Neal, the Grizzlies did a terrific job of shutting down Charlotte's key players. Al Jefferson was repeatedly unable to finish over Marc Gasol, and shot 7-21 while being limited to 16 points. The Hornets' big name free agent acquisition Lance Stephenson was also held to eight points in 28 minutes.
2) The Grizzlies Bigs Struggled (Until it Mattered Most)
The odds are typically not in Memphis' favor when the front court duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph is off, and the bigs weren't clicking tonight until Marc and Z-Bo turned it on in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
Gasol couldn't find his jumper until he hit a 17-footer to give Memphis the lead late in the fourth, and he continued knocking down his iconic set shot throughout the overtime period. Randolph connected on a critical baseline jumper late in double overtime, and attacked the glass throughout both overtime periods as he ultimately finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds on 7-12 shooting. Gasol finished with 19 points, 5 assists, and only 3 rebounds while shooting 8-20 from the floor.
3) This was the Final Meeting Between Memphis and Charlotte This Season
Tonight's contest wasn't quite the eye-gouging experience that the Grizzlies' 71-69 victory in Charlotte earlier in the season was, but this was still not exactly what you'd refer to as aesthetically pleasing basketball. Memphis turned the ball over 11 times in the first half alone, and neither team was able to find much of a groove or a rhythm to the game. The Grizzlies especially struggled to knock down easy jumpers, with Marc Gasol and Jon Leuer in particular bricking multiple open mid-range looks.
By the time it was over, Charlotte and Memphis had combined for 34 turnovers, and the game was riddled with sloppy play and dumb fouls, including a few late game fouls on three-point shooters.
The double overtime part of this game was definitely fun, but the 48 minutes that came before that left a lot to be desired.