Considering the mood among the Memphis fan base after the team's last two demoralizing losses, the Grizzlies desperately needed a win if for no other reason than to make the "GRIT AND GRIND IS DEAD" tweets stop for a day or two.
Memphis got that win in convincing fashion against the Washington Wizards Monday night at FedExForum, splashing in 10 three-pointers as the Grizzlies cruised to a crushing 112-95 victory.
Here are my three takeaways from the win:
1) Jeff Green is Alive!!!
For the second straight game Jeff Green was inserted into the starting lineup at power forward over Zach Randolph. How's that working out for him?
The idea with starting Green is that he'll have much more space to operate, and it also clears up space for Marc Gasol while allowing the team to play faster. You can debate whether or not it's a good idea to prioritize Jeff's success over Z-Bo's, but what's clear is that this is certainly getting Green going. He finished with 15 points and six rebounds while shooting 6-12 from the field, and had a small handful of monster highlights such as these.
The highlights might not be there every night, but it definitely seems like Green is more comfortable in this starting lineup, and it sets him up to have success as he's had in the last two games.
2) Mike Conley is Alive!!!
Mike Conley has not been his usual self this season, shooting a career-low percentage from the field and his lowest percentage from three since his rookie season, but he managed to pull it together against the Wizards in what was one of his most complete performances of the year.
Conley started off hot, notching 12 points and 6 assists by halftime before ultimately finishing his night with 18 points and a season-high 11 assists. He was also terrific on the defensive side of the ball forcing regular Grizz-killer John Wall into a horrific 2-11 shooting night.
Conley's struggles have been one of the biggest reasons for Memphis' sub-par start to the season. Hopefully this game marks him turning the corner.
3) The Third Quarter is Alive!!!
When it comes to the third quarter, no team in the NBA has been worse than the Memphis Grizzlies this season. According to Team Rankings, Memphis is outscored by 4.5 points per third quarter on average. There have been multiple games this season where things seemed to be going fine... and then the third quarter happened.
But against Washington, the Grizzlies used the third quarter to dominate and put the game out of reach. Memphis held a comfy 11-point advantage at the halftime break, and then stomped on the gas to beat the Wizards by 11 more in the third to effectively end the contest. Memphis largely did damage from range in the stretch, knocking down three triples in the quarter, and each of the first five made field goals by the Grizzlies to start the quarter were jumpers of 17 feet or more.