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Russ Smith flies, Vince Carter tries: Grizzlies open up their preseason with a win over the Rockets

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Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Houston Rockets 92-89 to open preseason 2015.

But I'm going to assume that you're not overly interested in the fact that a lineup of Yakhouba Diawara, Ryan Hollins, Michael Holyfield, Sampson Carter and Lazeric Smith, along with Russ Smith, held off a ferocious comeback attempt by the Rockets to secure the three-point victory.

So, instead, I'm going to give a few thoughts (and probably a few complete overreactions) to how the Grizzlies, the ones who will actually make the roster and play in the regular season, played in their first appearance in a Grizz jersey since May.

Mike Conley - Conley played the second fewest minutes of any Grizzly that logged minutes, so there's not a ton to work with. But he kept the mask and he likes playing with Brandan Wright.

"When Brandan is on the floor, I know I can throw it up high, and he can go get it," Conley said.

And Tony Allen said Conley was glowing about the athleticism in the bench lineup.

"We were on the bench, and Mike said he was excited to see the athleticism out there," Allen said.

Courtney Lee - Lee had an efficient night scoring, tallying 11 points on six shots including 2/4 from three in just under 13 minutes. Maybe this is the new, aggressive Courtney Lee. Probably not. But maybe.

"Courtney Lee played really, really well," said head coach Dave Joerger in his post-game press conference. "Quietly, he had a really affective game."

It is worth noting that the Grizz were 21-3 when Lee made multiple three-pointers last season.

Jeff Green - If there is one overarching thing that stood out to me from preseason game one that I don't feel like is a complete overreaction it would be that Jeff Green needs to come off the bench.

It was glaringly obvious.

Green did some nice things in the first half when he was playing with mostly starters. He hit an open corner three. He rebounded relatively well. But the second half, more specifically the first half of the third quarter, is where Green looked his best.

"Jeff struggled in the first half," Joerger said. "That's why I made him play in the second half. I thought he was much better in the third quarter. I thought he was much more aggressive. He went and got some more rebounds. He did some more things like getting in the paint, going to the rim and some things we want to see."

It was so blatant that Jeff Green is more comfortable being the ‘guy' with the second unit. Joerger is right; Green was more aggressive in all aspects of the game in the second half. In six third quarter minutes, Green scored seven points, grabbed two rebounds and knocked down a pair of free throws after getting fouled attacking the rim.

I realize it's the preseason, and the first preseason game at that, but Jeff needs to play with the bench guys.

Zach Randolph - Z-Bo was Z-Bo. Five points and three boards.

Marc Gasol - Six points, eight boards and two blocks in 15 minutes. Marc back and Marc rich. But he also gave a quote that I thought was somewhat interesting.

"We have some of the best camp guys I've been around," Gasol said. "We have some really talented guys. The games seem easier than practice."

Marc likes this team.

Tony Allen - Tony came off the bench for the first preseason game, and it will probably spark another heated debate about whether he can last a full season without blowing up because of his bench role. We'll see if it lasts. I'd be mildly surprised if coming off the bench is Tony's permanent role for the rest of the season.

The best indicator that Tuesday's game was indeed a preseason game was when late in the first quarter, Tony Allen knocked down a midrange jumper, then just a few minutes late, drilled a three. That's when I thought to myself, "Yep. It's preseason."

Beno Udrih - Beno didn't do anything that particularly stood out. He nailed a dribble pull-up midrange jumper that reminded everyone of the fact that the Midrange Marauder is back for another season. And he moved relatively well for a guy that's dealt with some recent injury issues.

Brandan Wright - So, I loved the Brandan Wright signing the second it happened. I know what the guy brings to the basketball court, and it's something that the Grizz have been desperately lacking. But seeing it in person for the first time, man. This guy is going to be good in Memphis.

"I thought Brandan Wright was very active," Joerger said. "The group with JaMychal Green and Brandan Wright is very athletic and very long. I like when the rebounds are being snatched at 11 and a half feet."

Wright echoed Joerger's comments about playing with Ja. Green in the third.

"It was a speed-it-up group," Wright said.

And the former Dallas teammates, Wright and Vince Carter hooked-up for the first (of probably many) pick-and-roll alley-oops.

"It was easy and comfortable," Wight said. "We did a lot of that in Dallas."

But even beyond all of the athleticism that Wright brings to the table, he's just a smart basketball player. He puts himself in the right position on offense to score and to rebound on both ends of the floor. He can play alongside either Marc or Z-BO and even with another bench guy like JaMychal Green.

Brandan Wright is going to fit right in and make a big impact on this team.

Matt Barnes - Barnes struggled in his first preseason game. He was completely out of sync offensively, but that's mostly to be expected. It will take time for him to feel comfortable within the offense. But Barnes did appreciate the big ovation he got from the home fans when he checked in for his Grizzlies debut.

"I've been surprised with the support I've received since I got here," Barnes said. "I was public enemy number one, and now the fans love me. I'm just ready to give them something to cheer about."

JaMychal Green - Simply put, JaMychal Green was really good against the Rockets. He finished with just two points, but he was tied with Jeff Green for second on the team in rebounds with seven and led the team in assists with three.

Green played like a guy that wanted to not only be on the team when it's time for his contract to become fully guaranteed in early January, but a guy that wanted to carve out a consistent rotation spot.

Green athleticism and energy were on display throughout the entire game.

When Green checked into the game in the first quarter, he immediately took a charge. And later in the second half, Green caught the ball in the corner, drove towards the basket, had the ball stripped and stolen, then he sprinted to the other end where he grabbed the rebound on the ensuing Rockets miss.

JaMychal Green will find minutes on the Grizzlies this season if he can consistently play like he did in the first preseason game.

Vince Carter - Oh, Vince. I had bought into the hype that Vince Carter could play some sort of role this season, and I'm still not completely off that train. But VC did nothing to make me think that he was ready to contribute more effectively than he did last season. Again, it's just one game, and one preseason game at that, but it didn't look very good.

Carter was ¼ from the field in 14 minutes, and he even got rim-checked on a dunk attempt. It was really sad. I'm holding out some hope, but it seems like blind hope now.

Russ Smith - I shocked when I looked at the box score and saw that Russ Smith finished 2/8 from the field. It certainly felt like he played and shot much better than that. And it does help that he was 8/9 from the foul line, which is indicative of how aggressively he attacked the rim.

Russ added three rebounds, two assists and a steal to go along with his team-high 12 points, but he did turn the ball over four times in just 21 minutes.

But, hey, it's preseason. He will get better.

The most important thing is that he flashed the potential that everyone loves about him.

Russ looks like he's going to carve out some type of role, if only by virtue of the number of players, or lack thereof, at his position currently on the roster.

One thing that was evident was the fact the Russ can blow past virtually any defender put in front of him. He got to the paint and created opportunities for himself and his teammates seemingly at will.