You win some, you lose some. And the Grizzlies lost one on the road against a good team on Tuesday night.
Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons took a game off to rest, and the Grizz saw some other guys step up big in their absence. It just wasn’t enough to pull out what would have been a big road win.
While some guys had big nights on offense for Memphis, there were still some issues on that side of the ball, and even more so on defense. Boston saw some unlikely heroes step up in this game to notch them a 113-103 victory over a veteran playoff team from the West.
Let’s get into how this went down.
The Grizzlies’ old guard was excellent.
Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen have been through it all in Memphis.
And they stepped up big in the absence of Conley.
Gasol added on to his All-NBA First-Team campaign with another top-notch performance. “Big Spain” dropped 26 points, dished out 9 assists, grabbed 4 rebounds, blocked 3 shots, and got 2 steals. That is stat-sheet stuffing at its finest.
Yes, the rebounding count leaves a lot to be desired, but his full array of skill was on display as he threw the team on his back.
Gasol’s longtime front court partner, Randolph, was also terrific off the bench.
Z-Bo registered a big double-double with 16 points and 10 boards in 29 minutes of play. He didn’t shoot his most efficient game, going 6-of-13 from the field, but he gave a much-needed punch to the offense.
Tony Allen was also very good on both sides of the ball. He scored 17 points, on 6-of-9 shooting, with 8 rebounds and 4 steals. This was a cliche, old-school TA performance, and it was great to see.
But despite the efforts of the three vets, not much help was given by the rest of the roster in the loss.
Outside of those three guys, there was a lot of it.
First off, the Memphis defense got lit up for 113 points by the Celtics, and there were some unacceptable contributing factors.
Next, Gerald Green, a guy who has struggled to even crack Boston’s rotation, exploded for 19 points off of the bench, in 19 minutes. Green shot 7-for-10 from the floor and the Grizz had no answer for the veteran.
Boston shot 48% from the floor and won the free-throw percentage battle, hitting 91% of their attempts to Memphis’ 69%.
The Grizzlies themselves struggled to hit from the outside. Memphis converted only 32% of their long range shots, but it was worse than it looked.
The three vets mentioned above shot 3-for-7 from deep, while the rest of the team was 6-for-23.
James Ennis was solid from beyond the arc, hitting 3-of-4 on his way to 11 points. But he was the only other Grizzly who really contributed well on the offensive end. JaMychal Green was ok, with 8 points and 5 boards, but was not much of a factor on offense in taking only 4 shots.
Andrew Harrison helped the team out with 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and only 1 turnover. But he shot 4-of-12 from the field, including 0-for-4 from three, and only 4-of-8 from the charity stripe.
Vince Carter and Troy Daniels also had bad shooting nights, combining to shoot 5-of-20 from the field and 3-for-14 from deep.
The Celtics had a very balanced offensive attack, between guys like Isaiah Thomas (21 points, 7 assists), Avery Bradley (23 points, 7 boards, 4 assists), Jae Crowder (17 points, 7 rebounds), and Marcus Smart (13 points, 6 assists). Al Horford was largely neutralized by Gasol, as he posted only 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting, but helped in other ways defensively (2 blocks) and with his passing (5 assists).
Memphis is now 20-14 and some may be wanting to hit the panic button. But there’s no need to panic!!
This team has gotten almost nothing from Chandler Parsons, the big off-season addition, and has had a hampered Conley who is getting healthy again. Gasol is also having the best season of his career and new coach David Fizdale appears to be a great hire.
The Grizzlies will be fine, especially in a Western Conference that lacks depth. Memphis is in good position to earn a No. 5 seed in the playoffs.
But for now, the Grizzlies will look to their next contest. That comes this Thursday, at home versus Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.
That should be a fun one, and could help calm all the nerves of the ones who are panicking.