Before the game even began, change was afoot early in this season as David Fizdale elected to change up his starting lineup and go big - very big. The starting crew of Mike Conley, James Ennis, JaMychal Green, Jarell Martin, and Marc Gasol gave the Grizzlies a very interesting look to begin the game.
A Gasol three point make started things nicely for the Grizzlies, but the Wizards promptly created turnovers and took the lead from Memphis early. There wasn’t much scoring early - halfway through the quarter the score was 8-7 Grizzlies.
The accuracy in the Grizz-Wiz game so far is incredible -- Memphis is 3 of 11 (w/a pair of 3-pters); WASH shooting 2 of 13. 1 of 6 from 3— Clay Bailey (@claybailey9) October 31, 2016
Then, the Wizards started to wake up a little bit on the back of their franchise player, John Wall.
Wizards just destroying the Grizzlies right now on the pick and roll. Wall with four assists already.— Joe Mullinax (@JoeMullinax) October 31, 2016
Zach Randolph was the target of those pick and roll sets, but Zach was also scoring the ball well to the tune of 11 points in the first quarter, and the Grizzlies led the Wizards 27-22 at the end of the first quarter.
A trio of Vince Carter three point makes off of pretty Andrew Harrison/Wade Baldwin passes started the second quarter off nicely for Memphis. Between Zach Randolph playing well and the overall movement both on and off the ball being better for the Grizzlies than it was against the Knicks, the energy and execution was more on point in the first half.
As the quarter ground on, it was the ability of John Wall to create for himself and for others off of dribble penetration that kept the Wizards in the ball game. Washington went on a 15-6 run and cut the lead to three with 2:30 left in the half, but that was as close as they would get in the first half. Wall continued to carry his team (13 points, 10 assists at the half) but Vince Carter converted four total threes and Memphis led 58-54 after one half of play.
VINCE CARTER IS NOT A HUMAN BEING HE IS AN ALIEN SENT TO MEMPHIS TO CONVERT THREE POINT SHOTS AND WEAR A SALT AND PEPPER BEARD WELL.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) October 31, 2016
The second half began with a pair of Markieff Morris made buckets to tie the game at 58. Neither team started the half well - lots of poor passes, lots of sloppy shot attempts. As the quarter went along, Morris and Wall continued to make their presence felt, and the Wizards took the lead 67-66 for a possession before quickly losing it to a JaMychal Green made three. Vince Carter made yet ANOTHER three...
...and the Grizzlies used his momentum, and the continued steady play of Zach Randolph (10-14 shooting, 21 points, and 7 rebounds) to keep the lead. The Wizards cut the lead to a single point however, and the score was 78-77 Memphis heading into the fourth.
The Wizards started the fourth quarter well, taking the lead after a Kelly Oubre and-one. Memphis fouled a little too much and put the Wizards into free throws a little too early.
The Grizzlies already have committed five team fouls. There are ten minutes left in the quarter. pic.twitter.com/Ft3Bvgd4uC— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) October 31, 2016
Despite the fact that the Grizzlies had outscored the Wizards 33-16 from three, the Wizards were able to take the lead again at 87-86 with 7 minutes left in the quarter in part because of fast break points (23-10 Wizards) and points in the paint (52-28 Wizards). That carried on with an Andrew Nicholson and-one that made the Wizards’ lead three with 5:44 left in the final frame.
That lead grew to six with a John Wall and-one, and the Grizzlies just didn’t seem to have the energy to keep up with the Wizards as they consistently were late on rotations and short on shot attempts.
Then, a shot of life. A flagrant foul call on John Wall against Vince Carter led to a five-point possession (Carter two free throw makes, Conley made three pointer) that got the lead down to three with two and a half minutes left.
John Wall defending Vince Carter pic.twitter.com/ZDxNq4EpdM— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) October 31, 2016
Mike Conley then made a fast break lay-up and the lead was cut to one. The rest of the quarter was punch and counterpunch - Memphis would get close, and then the Wizards would respond. John Wall made two free throws to get the Wizards’ lead to 100-97 with 24 seconds left, and then Marc Gasol hit a game-tying three point shot.
Yes. Marc Gasol. Made a three point shot to tie the game. What a time to be alive.
The extra session started with two Gasol made free throws and a 102-100 advantage for the home team. Conley free throws made it 104-100, and then noted three point specialist Marc Gasol made another from range to extend Memphis’ lead to 107-100. Another Gasol three (yes, he made three in a five minute span) got the Grizzlies lead to 10. The Wizards never recovered and the Grizzlies beat Washington 112-103.
This was a massive win for Memphis. To be 2-1 through three games without one star (Chandler Parsons), one starter (Tony Allen), and one key role player (Brandan Wright) while limiting minutes (Gasol tonight - 20 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes) is a huge positive early in the season. Conley (24 points and 11 assists in 38 minutes) and Gasol continue to carry Memphis, and they will have to continue to do so until the cavalry gets healthy.
Memphis returns to the court Tuesday night against the Timberwolves in Minnesota.