Vince Carter was active for the first time since getting injured against Denver on January 27th. He checked in at the end of the first quarter, but played just 6 minutes.
The Grizzlies were focused out of the gate and finally, finally! won a first quarter. All five starters and Tony Allen (making a case for himself?) scored in the first, racking up 24 points and 16 in the paint. An all-bench unit headlined the 2nd quarter, but a 2-12 shooting stretch gave LA a window to come back and take the lead with 3 minutes left in the half. Dave Joerger responded with "The Once and Future Starters" (credit Chris Herrington) - Conley-Lee-Allen-Randolph-Gasol - but a sloppy end to the half saw the Lakers leading 46-43. (Of note: Conley-Allen-Green-Randolph-Gasol would finish the game.)
The Grizzlies seemed to roll over in the third, trailing for most of the quarter - a pair of layups by Zach Randolph and yet another inbounds steal-and-bucket by Nick Calathes put the Grizzlies back ahead for a moment, but LA responded with a strong finish and led 71-67 going into the fourth. The lead soon ballooned to 10, forcing a Memphis time out.
Whatever Joerger said in the huddle took a few minutes to register, but the Grizz finally buckled down and held the Lakers scoreless for nearly 3 minutes down the stretch. Clutch rebounding by Allen and Calathes and free throws by Marc Gasol made it a two possession game, and #ClutchConley came through with a steal on a Jordan Clarkson crossover to ice the game. (Nick Calathes got one more steal in under the wire. He had 3.)
Zach Randolph led the Grizz with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Odds and Ends
- A moment of silence for former GBB-ian Kevin Lipe, victim of a senseless mauling by Doc Holiday during a break in the first quarter. He's survived by his wife and daughter.
- TA hit 7 of 8 from the floor (all layups!) and was generally disruptive and energetic. Jeff Green was 3 of 12. CC: Dave Joerger
- Jordan Clarkson had a career high 25 points and 6 assists. But it could have been worse.