The Grizzlies have been rolling as of late, but coming into last night’s match against the Golden State Warriors, no one knew what to expect. After all, the Grizzlies were still missing key players like Chandler Parsons and Mike Conley.
The FedExForum was a packed house, and many fans donned Golden State jerseys in Memphis’ home arena. Coming into the game, no one expected the shocking outcome that followed after the opening tip.
Memphis started off hot, jumping out to a 11-5 lead behind another fast start from Marc Gasol. The Warriors, on the other hand, got off to a slow start and never recovered. After the end of the first, Memphis led 31-16. But many Memphis fans didn’t hold their breath. After all, it seemed a tall task for Memphis to keep up this kind of performance throughout the whole game.
Well, Memphis had an even stronger second quarter, and players like JaMychal Green really got going. Going into the third quarter, Memphis led 61-38, and they quickly jumped out to a 30 point lead.
For the Warriors, Kevin Durant was the most consistent player with 21 points. In the first half, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 4-18 from the field. Thompson ended up with 8 points on the night, while Curry had 17 points but was 3-11 from three point range.
The Warriors made some minor runs, but Memphis maintained its lead and never let the Warriors get within single digits in the second half. The Memphis Grizzlies gave the Golden State Warriors their fourth loss of the season, 110-89, led by Marc Gasol and Tony Allen, who each had 19 points.
Grit N’ Grind Isn’t Dead
Memphis’ offense was clicking on all cylinders tonight. However, Memphis’ defense was what really won the game. Memphis hustled for every loose ball, and the Grizzlies forced 23 Warriors turnovers.
In addition, the Grizzlies had 10 steals as a team. Once Memphis’ defense got rolling, so did their offense. Memphis had 23 assists, and everyone contributed to last night’s win in all aspects.
To those who say grit n’ grind is dead, I say it’s evolved. Memphis still has the same tenacity on the defensive end as in years past, but Memphis is starting to really click offensively, and new players are starting to gel together.
Memphis held the Golden State Warriors to just 89 points. The Warriors are ranked #1 in offensive efficiency, and #3 in pace. The Grizzlies controlled the pace the entire game and didn’t let it turn into a shootout. Also, the Grizzlies really controlled the boards and won the rebounding battle, 47-42.
Undoubtedly, last night was a team effort, and that’s exactly what Memphis needed to grab the win with the absence of Conley and Parsons. All of Memphis’ starters scored 10+ points on the night.
"I thought we controlled the tempo pretty well," -Marc Gasol— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 11, 2016
Role Players Steppin’ Up
In last night’s win, everyone contributed, including the role players. JaMychal Green, who has been solid all year, had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Off the bench, Jarell Martin had an impressive 13 points in 17 minutes, and Zach Randolph had 14 points and 7 rebounds. In addition, Andrew Harrison had 11 points and was 4-4 from the free throw line.
For Memphis to succeed without key players like Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons, these Grizzlies have to make an impact consistently. Fortunately, that’s exactly what’s been happening the past handful of games, as Memphis has now won six in a row.
And unlike Thursday night, Memphis was much more efficient from the free throw line against the Warriors, which helped them get going early on. They shot 89.7%, while the Warriors only shot 60% from the line.
"We're taking it one game at a time....Playoff experience for the young guys," Tony Allen on tonight's win.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 11, 2016
The Grizzlies Continue to Shock the World
Let’s not kid ourselves. Most fans and analysts thought the Memphis Grizzlies were a major underdog last night against the Warriors, particularly with all of Memphis’ injuries. The Grizzlies have been pulling out some close wins, and they haven’t all been pretty, but the Grizzlies have been fighting every night to pull out unlikely victories. Last night was no different. Whether the Warriors underestimated the Grizzlies or just had a bad night is beside the point. Memphis came to play, and the box score shows that.
While it was just one game, and it was just a regular season game, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. This team is special. Stuff like this doesn’t happen often. Enjoy this moment before the Grizzlies take on another high-caliber foe in the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. If we’ve learned anything from this performance, never count Memphis out of any game, no matter the opponent or the injuries. This group of guys shows up every night, and they’re making Memphis proud.
"Moving forward... We'll watch our film... We'll continue to build our identity," -Coach Fizdale.— Grace Baker (@GraceBaker901) December 11, 2016
On Memphis' intensity, Fizdale says, "Ultimately we have to make sure we take of the defensive end first."— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 11, 2016
"It's action, and it's real...this game gives us a sense of belonging," -Coach Fizdale— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 11, 2016
"Overall, our attitude has stayed the same throughout the whole process," -Fizdale— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 11, 2016