If you didn't watch tonight and I had told you that Marc Gasol fouled out against the Mavericks, making that two consecutive games for Slim Spain going foul happy, you probably wouldn't have guessed that the Memphis Grizzlies A) won, and B) did so in dominant fashion. However, that's exactly what happened on Friday night as Memphis scrounged up an early lead and really lit things up in the 3rd quarter to extend their advantage beyond the point of recovery for the Dallas Mavericks.
The big story for Grizzlies fans was Tony Allen replacing Jeff Green in the starting lineup. It looked natural and had the Grizzlies really locked in defensively against the scorching hot trio of Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, and Dirk Nowitzki, who finished a combined 11/34 from the field. To Jeff Green's credit, he also spent some time on Dirk down the stretch, and kept his cool even with some very strict officiating. And even more to Jeff's credit is the news that came out after the game that he actually went to coach Dave Joerger and offered to come off the bench. #Winner. I won't break down any of the numbers because I like winning a lot and I dislike beating dead horses, even the ones that aren't technically dead yet.
I'll just say that I enjoyed the switch up tonight and I'd like to see it again.
This wasn't the finest start to an athletic competition that I've ever seen. But when things get mucked up, that's when Memphis tends to find their way. They mustered pretty incredible finishes to the 1st and 2nd quarters that had them leading by 7 after each period leading into halftime. Speaking of leading into halftime, Jeff Green should just take all of his 3s in the following fashion:
The Mavericks ended up getting all sorts of flustered and frustrated in the 3rd quarter -- and rightfully so -- as Marc Gasol was eating everyone's lunch and the officiating started to sour, initially heavily against the Mavs and then eventually both ways.
The following acting job from Tony Allen set off a chain of events that would culminate in the Grizzlies going up by 24 points, a lead that would mostly be maintained by double digits the rest of the way for Memphis.
Dallas would make several more lunges towards a comeback, but the abuse that Zach Randolph was dishing out kept Memphis chugging along through the mud until the Mavericks ran out of ammunition. You knew it was over when Rick Carlisle went to Hack-a-Tony.
As a fan, it feels really nice to see this team toss a group like Dallas around on the road and hold them to 101 points (they'd been averaging 118 over their last three). Although Marc still looked a little frustrated at times and fouled out for the 2nd straight game, he played some phenomenal basketball and even cracked a smile after reminding Dirk of his age at one point.
- Vince Carter looks to be "back", and this version of Vinsanity honestly looks better than anything else we've seen from him so far this season in Memphis.
- I called out Kosta Koufos in my preview earlier today, and he played a nice game tonight, looking comfortable coming in early for Marc after he got into foul trouble.
- Nick Calathes didn't play. Beno Udrih did play and looked really good.
- Mike Conley also played, and looked about as good as you'd expect for someone coming off some rest and rehab. He still doesn't have that explosion to the rim we saw earlier this season, but he ran the show like a general and had a nice stroke from beyond the arc.
The Grizzlies come back home tomorrow for Portland, who are coming off a disappointing loss to the Magic. If Memphis can repeat their performance from tonight, I think Grizz Nation will feel a lot better about the tough schedule the Grizzlies have to finish March.