An interesting night in Memphis, for a variety of reasons. Yes, the Memphis Sounds jerseys are awesome. But the game being played by the guys in the uniforms was quite a sight to behold as well, especially on the offensive end. Russell Westbrook played a monster game (40 points, 14 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) but it was in a losing effort as the Memphis Grizzlies took this one from Oklahoma City 122-114.
Three quick takeaways from tonight's contest.
1. The Mario Chalmers Game Shows the Trade was a Huge Success...So Far.
Mario Chalmers took over this game when Memphis needed him to most in the fourth quarter.
Chalmers one of us tho. pic.twitter.com/anxLoRMy5l— Jonathan Louis May (@jmay11) November 17, 2015
A tremendous shooting performance from range to the tune of 4-7 from beyond the arc and an absurd 29 points for the former discarded back-up point guard of the Miami Heat. One man's trash is another man's treasure, of course, and he has filled the role of an off-the-bench stabilizer and scorer quite nicely three games in to his run as a Grizzly.
Is this massive stat line sustainable? Of course not. But an average around 12 points per night will make Mike Conley's life so much easier (22 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 made three-point shots) and also create for guys like Courtney Lee and Jeff Green since opponents have to respect Chalmers' all-around offensive game.
2. The Jeff Green-Courtney Lee Swap Isn't as Bad as We Thought.
Courtney Lee led the Grizzlies in +/- on this night at +14 in 17 minutes of play, with the next closest Grizzly being Marc Gasol at +11 in 35 minutes. This number is of course imperfect, but considering the fact that Courtney played well while coming off the bench in this contest it is a promising sign that he...
- Is able to be productive in this role, a concern considering his possible unwillingness to not start.
- Is comfortable playing his position and doing his job, even when not an offensive force.
3. The Memphis Grizzlies' Demise was Likely a Bit Exaggerated
And a little bit premature. A hell of a start to the season (Golden State twice, at Portland, Cleveland, etc.) plus a poor stretch of play early on led to blow-out losses that were more like a temporary cold than a terminal disease. These Grizzlies have found their shooting stroke, are defending better and have that trademark energy and fire again that fans have become so accustomed to seeing. It has led to a three-game winning streak and Memphis getting back to .500 for the first time since that dreadful night in Golden State that now feels like it happened so long ago.
It is a long season, and it is vital that they use these next couple of days off to rest and practice together for the first time in a long time, more than likely. These Grizzlies are back in it and ready for the fight, however, and that is all that Memphis wants from their beloved Bears of Beale Street.