The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Orlando Magic 106-96 on Friday night. Playing without the services of Mike Conley, the Grizzlies would be looking for someone to step up and pick up the slack on offense to account for his missing production. They got exactly what they were looking for in their newly found athletic wing, Jeff Green.
Grinding through the season: Blazers Edition
We know the legitimate threats who stand in the way of a win on Saturday. Who are the other players thriving in Terry Stotts' system? Are any roster moves on the horizon? Are there any weaknesses on this team? Blazer's Edge writer Chris Lucia is kind enough to answer these questions and talk Blazers with Grizzly Bear Blues!
Green had a monster second half for Memphis, going 8-13 from the field for 17 points, including several vicious dunks. Not to be outdone, Marc Gasol had another near triple double with 12 points, 16 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Zach Randolph added 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Early on, this looked like a typical game where the Grizzlies would play down to their level of competition, as they allowed the Magic to gain a lead of as many as seven throughout the first half. Magic point guard Elfrid Payton took advantage of the lesser defensive prowess of Beno Udrih en route to scoring 22 points and dishing 12 assists, both career highs. Following his lead, the Magic took a one-point lead into the break.
The Grizzlies would regain the advantage in the third quarter, outscoring Orlando 33-25 thanks in large part to nine of Zach Randolph's 18 points. Memphis would watch its lead swell up to as many as 12 in the second half, and despite allowing the Magic to close it to four late, were able to keep their composure and win with a bit of a cushion.
Game Notes from the Legend-wait for it-Diary
- Tony Allen really is something else. This was one of his best games of the season, scoring 17 points on 6-10 shooting, including going 4-5 from the line and knocking down a clean 3-pointer. But even when he shows life on the offensive side of the ball, it's his controlled, chaotic mannerisms on the defensive end that make Tony Allen who he is. As the Magic were exploding for a fast break, Tony Allen went to chase down Victor Oladipo. Jeff Green was in front, and Tony could be seen yelling at him to close off his right side, forcing him left, and allowing Tony to swat the ball away from his left side. A lot of times it seems like Tony is just a dog chasing a car, but in reality, he knows good and well what he's doing, and it's a large part of the reason he's first team all defense.
- I am Jeff's complete inability to shoot jumpers. As nice of an addition as Jeff Green has been for Memphis, he's still yet to make a shot outside of 15 feet, and was 0-3 from beyond the arc last night. It's not overly concerning yet, especially since he's better suited to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket like he did throughout the second half last night, but eventually those shots are going to have to go in.
- Green is shooting well from the line, however, going 5-5 last night, and he has yet to miss as a Grizzly. (ed. note: similar to how Courtney Lee came in last season-CF.) Getting to the line and converting free throw attempts was something the Grizzlies loved in Jordan Adams when they drafted him, and with the rookie struggling to find playing time, it's something no other Grizzly really does exceptionally well. For a Memphis team that sees more games than it would like come down to the wire, his ability to add 4-6 extra points every game could prove to be his biggest asset to this team.
- The Magic are fun. They aren't a team you get to see a lot of, since they have one of the worst records in a pretty poor eastern conference, but they have some talented athletes and are just a lot of fun to watch play basketball. If their young guys keep progressing at the rate they currently are, it won't be long before they are a very dangerous team.
- When was the last time a Grizzly had four or more dunks in a game? The early part of James Johnson's Memphis career? (ed. note: and knowing JJ I'm sure each dunk was matched with 1.25 personal fouls-CF.)
- Completely unrelated to the Grizzlies game, but last night during the Cavs-Clippers game, Mark Jackson said that, with his stats, if DeAndre Jordan's name was Marc Gasol, he would be a lock for the All-Star Game. Feel free to spend the rest of your day pondering all of the things wrong with that logic.
Memphis moves to 28-11 on the season, but there will be no rest, as tonight they take on the Portland Trail Blazers at home in the Forum. The Blazers are coming off a rout at the hands of the Spurs last night, and while they aren't a bad team on the road, they definitely aren't the same team that plays in front of the incredible crowds in Rip City.
The Grizzlies will have to hope that Mike Conley is able to play after sitting out last night with two bum ankles. Beno Udrih did a commendable job starting in his place, but seeing Elfird Payton's box score has to make Damian Lillard salivate just thinking about what his final line will be. The tip is at 8pm tonight, and both teams will surely enjoy the extra hour. Stay tuned for Grind Prophecies later in the day, and until then, use this as your official preview thread.