Jeff Green got his first start as a Grizzly in place of Courtney Lee, who was the first off the bench. (Some have floated the idea of a variable starting lineup based on match-ups, so don't bank on this being permanent.) The front office also sent Russ Smith, Jordan Adams, and Jarnell Stokes to Iowa prior to this game. GM Chris Wallace estimated earlier today that this will likely be a 10-day, 6-game stint to keep all three players cobweb free. Tony Allen and Courtney Lee both played the game out on defense.
The first half - in a word?
trashketball— Carson Irwin (@Carson_Irwin) January 22, 2015
Both teams combined to go 12-37 from the field in the first quarter. The Grizzlies somehow made it to 41 by halftime, holding a 3-point lead over Toronto despite being -9 on the boards. If you saw people arguing about Grizz vs. Griz on your Twitter feed around this point, it's because it was preferable to focusing on the game at hand.
Shaky offense by the starters put the onus on the bench in the second half, but Nick Calathes (+8 for the game), Courtney Lee, and Jon Leuer (!), who started the fourth, brought energy to extend the lead to 68-61 on a 10-0 run at the top of the final period. Kyle Lowry tried to take over down the stretch, scoring 11 straight for Toronto at one point, but Gasol's 26 points, an ice-cold Mike Conley 3, and a Zach Randolph coast-to-coast layup sealed the deal for Memphis.
Your Crest® Extra Whitening™ fastbreak of the game:
1) I wanted to explain to Jeff Green that James Johnson was just a fling. Yes, he's an athletic forward too, but we just went slumming for a few weeks last year because his neck tat made him seem dangerous and cool, but we'd never bring him home to Mom and Dad. You're different, Jeff. You're for real. (But we do keep that vine of The Dunk under our pillow.)
2) Speaking of Jeff Green, he finalized his onboarding process by fouling a three-point shooter in the first quarter. Someone put his certificate in the mail -- he's officially a Grizzly.
3) The Raps finished 5-28 from 3-point range, but the Grizzlies committed three three-shot fouls. Progress?
Rest in piece, Don Poier.