The Memphis Grizzlies rushed out to a quick start and built up an 18-point lead in the second quarter, but ran out of gas after halftime, falling 95-89 on the road to the New Orleans Pelicans on the second night of a back-to-back. Here are my three takeaways from the loss:
1) The Run and Gun Grizzlies(?!)
Memphis got off to its hottest start since the All-Star break against the Pelicans, and it was due in large part to a willingness to push the pace whenever possible (no, seriously). The Grizzlies racked up 17(!) fast break points in the first half alone, with most coming in the first quarter off of multiple Marc Gasol-led breakaways, such as this one resulting in a Zach Randolph slam:
The Grizzlies' offense slowed down considerably after halftime, logging only two fast break points in the final 24 minutes of action.
2) Tyreke Evans is Apparently Unstoppable
Evans started at point guard in place of the injured Jrue Holiday, and tore the Grizzlies defense to shreds just as he did in the teams' two previous meetings this season. With Tyreke already notching two 20+ point games against Memphis this season, coach Dave Joerger made an adjustment right from the opening tip to give the taller Jeff Green the defensive assignment on the former University of Memphis guard. Mike Conley was switched onto Quincy Pondexter.
It's a solid idea in theory. Evans is huge at 6'6" 220 pounds, and has the size to bully Conley inside. But while it was a nice idea, it didn't work at all. Evans lit the Grizzlies up for 26 points and seven assists while shooting 10-16 from the field, and took control in the third quarter as the Pelicans outscored Memphis 33-17 to completely erase a 12-point halftime Grizzly lead.
3) Marc Gasol Put the League on 5x5 Watch
A 5x5 — denoted by a player recording at least five each of points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in a single game — is one of the rarest feats in all of basketball.
Only 15 5x5s have ever been achieved since the league began tracking blocks and steals in the 1985-86 season, and Hakeem Olajuwon and Andrei Kirilenko have six and three of them, respectively. The last player to record a 5x5 was Nicolas Batum on December 16, 2012.
About halfway through the third quarter of tonight's game it appeared as if Gasol was on his way to the league's 16th 5x5. He already had more than five points, rebounds, and assists, and was sitting on three steals and three blocks. He swatted two more shots in the fourth quarter, but was unable to accumulate any more steals as he finished with eight points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals, and four blocks, falling just short of the milestone.
A 5x4 is still pretty neat, though.