In last night’s battle of the bigs, Marc Gasol’s squad outlasted Anthony Davis’s, with both All-Stars leaning on offensive support from their key sharpshooters. Troy Daniels continued to put his miserable first few weeks in a Memphis uni behind him, making 7 of 11 3-point attempts and shooting 50% from the floor overall. He finished with a 29-point night off the bench. His Pelican mirror, Langston Galloway, made 6 of 13 3-point attempts, finishing with 26 points on 47.4% shooting overall from the field. Thankfully, Galloway missed what would’ve been a buzzer-beating dagger as time expired in the game’s second overtime.
But the stars of the evening were the two headliners. Marc Gasol recorded only his second-ever career triple double off a bevy of clutch moments. His final line: 28 points (on 11-for-25 shooting, including 3-of-6 from deep), 11 boards, 11 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Davis also had 28 points (on a similar 10-for-27 shooting night), 17 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 4 blocks.
As Big Spain mentioned in his post-game interview with Fox Sports Southeast (and as our Fearless Leader has discussed on this very website), many of the Grizzlies’ recent games have been quite close. That speaks to a cold, hard reality for what should be the M.O. for these Conley-less Grizz: their immediate future is their past. They’ve had to return to their Grit ’N’ Grind identity, gobbling up rebounds and making the opposition play in half court-sets as often as possible. To this end, Tony Allen, the Grindfather himself, had a huge night. He finished with 19 points (on 9-for-14 shooting, including one trey because why not?) and 14 rebounds, with 3 steals and 1 block to boot — a lot of his two-way play, in tandem with Daniels’ and Gasol’s contributions, kept Memphis afloat through an otherwise dreary first half.
Gasol, Daniels, and Allen carried Memphis on offense, as only two other players scored in double figures. JaMychal Green and Jarell Martin were helpful in the paint, and useful in that they let Gasol not stay tethered to Davis for a lot of the game so he could expend more energy on offense.
Some quick Gasol highlights:
-He put Omer Asik in the spin cycle on the left block with a little over 6 and a half minutes to go in the third (TA had a great steal in the third quarter that led to a behind the back lay-in to polish off an 8-0 run for the Grizz).
-After Gasol rebounded a missed Anthony Davis jumper, David Fizdale used Memphis’s final regulation timeout with 18 seconds to go, Memphis still down 94-91. And then, with 7.6 seconds left to play...
MARC GASOL NAILED HIS THIRD TRIPLE OF THE NIGHT TO TIE THE GAME 94-94. Davis missed a close look, and the game was off and running into OT.
-During the first OT, Gasol missed a three-point attempt with 20 seconds left, dove inside to rebound his own miss (his 10th rebound of the night), and dished the ball out to Troy Daniels, who nailed his seventh trey of the night with just under 15 seconds remaining. On the next possession, Davis went inside...only to fall prey to an absolutely terrific block from Gasol, giving Memphis possession for the first overtime’s final second. They turned the ball over, but still — if Gasol didn’t make that block, Davis would surely have scored.
-In the midst of the second OT, Gasol grabbed a rebound of an Anthony Davis miss, the two became entangled, and a jump ball was called with 3.8 seconds to play, and the Pelicans down by 2. Gasol won the jump and tapped the ball outside the 3-point arc, it found its way to Langston Galloway in the right corner, he rose up for the triple...and it rimmed out as the horn sounded. Game, Grizz.
There will be no rest for the weary, as Memphis plays host to the 4-18 Philadelphia 76ers tonight in the FedEx forum. Both teams will be on the second night of a back-to-back (Philly lost a close match to the Denver Nuggets, 106-98), and four Grizzlies logged 40+ minutes in last night’s epic contest. I see more gritting and grinding in the Grizz’s immediate future, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Games will get prettier when Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons return, but until then, Gasol and Co. will have to be satisfied with just winning, any which way they can.