The Memphis Grizzlies are rolling.
On Monday, the Grizzlies knocked off the early-season Eastern Conference contender, the Charlotte Hornets in one of their best performances of the season. It was their fifth consecutive win.
Memphis jumped out to a quick lead, and carried a 24 point advantage into the locker room at halftime.
While the Grizzlies have struggled offensively this season, at times, due to a lack of ball movement, that issue was fixed for this game. The Grizzlies posted 24 assists, which is well above their season average of 19.2.
This performance offensively also came against a team in Charlotte that ranks fifth in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage, allowing only 43% from the floor.
Conley wins another top-10 PG duel
Mike Conley showed up big in another big point guard match-up.
After two great performances going head-to-head with Chris Paul this season, Conley dominated Kemba Walker in this game.
Conley’s offense was on, scoring 31 points on 11-21 shooting and 5-8 from three-point range. His defense was also terrific, as he registered three steals and did a great job of neutralizing Walker’s offense.
Walker was averaging 25.3 points per game heading into the night and scored 17 points on only 6-15 shooting and had only two assists.
Conley’s great defense showed through in this match-up, holding a typically efficient scorer to a very pedestrian night. Conley was clearly the best player on the floor and had a great plus-minus of +21.
Other Bright Spots
This was a great team performance for the Grizzlies, especially considering that they are, once again, without Chandler Parsons.
Tony Allen had a terrific game on both ends, showing that he can still contribute at a high level. “The Grindfather” shut down Nicolas Batum, holding him to only 8 points on 1-7 shooting and a plus-minus of -22. Batum is a real key for the Hornets offense, due to his ability to create with the ball in his hands and Allen did a great job of shutting him down.
Allen also had an efficient offensive night, scoring 13 points on 5-9 shooting.
JaMychal Green had a very solid night in his complimentary role. He shot a perfect 4-4 from the floor, scoring 12 points and also grabbing 8 rebounds in 31 minutes of play.
Marc Gasol struggled in his shooting from inside the arc, but did many other things well. The Spaniard shot only 5-14 from the floor, but knocked down 2-3 three pointers on his way to stuffing the stat sheet. Gasol showed his two-way range of skills in posting 13 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 blocks in a solid performance.
Vince Carter and Zach Randolph continued their good play off of the bench. Randolph had a textbook night, scoring 14 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in 21 minutes. Z-Bo remains the scoring punch that the Grizz need in the second unit.
Vinsanity continued his great season, as he added 10 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists, wile draining a pair of threes. At age 39, Carter has re-emerged this season as a crucial piece on this team.
As a whole, the Grizz played great. They shot 47% from three, a great sign that ball movement is creating more quality looks from deep. While they also stifled Charlotte’s perimeter attack, holding them to just 29% from downtown.
The (only one major) Issue
The Grizzlies played great in this game.
But it was worrisome to see Frank Kaminsky go off like he did.
Frank The Tank played only 20 minutes, but dropped 23 points on 9-11 shooting and blocked three shots for the Hornets. While the Grizzlies’ defense was smothering, the bigs did struggle to guard Kaminsky, which is an odd development.
Kaminsky is very skilled, but not an explosive athlete. Those are the types of bigs that the Grizz can typically contain, but Kaminsky’s ability to stretch the floor posed big problems for the bigs, particularly the reserve ones. This was not a huge issue, but something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Riding a five-game winning streak, the Grizzlies are one of the hottest teams in basketball.
Yes, they did just lose Parsons again, but seem to have great chemistry among the active players and coach David Fizdale’s philosophies of faster pace have shown through on several occasions.
The Grizzlies, now 9-5, will look to extend their streak on Wednesday in Philadelphia. This is a favorable match-up for the Grizz, as the Sixers are one of the worst teams in the league.
But we will get to see a great match-up at center between Gasol and Joel Embiid. This is not a gimme game, as they don’t exist in the NBA, but we have to feel good about the chances of extending this winning streak to six games.
Let’s hope that the Grizzlies can stay hot.