Despite having star players like Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons out due to injury, the remaining Memphis players have been impressive the last handful of games as they were on a four game winning streak coming into last night’s game. Both Memphis and Portland shot poorly out the gate, and that trend continued throughout the game. It was definitely a “we in the mud” type of contest. On the night, Memphis shot 35.6% from the field, while Portland shot 30.5%.
Portland made multiple runs in the first half, but Memphis stuck around. By halftime, the Grizzlies were down by seven, 50-43. Marc Gasol had a terrific first half with 19 points. On the other side, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum had 15 points apiece through the first two quarters.
In the third, Memphis made a run to cut the deficit to three, but Portland responded and led by eight going into the fourth quarter. C.J. McCollum, AKA the “Grizz Killer,” was held to 24 points on the night.
After his emotional return the previous game, Zach Randolph had a quieter performance this time with only seven points and nine rebounds. JaMychal Green continues to be a reliable contributor, though. Though he only had 6 points, he had 18 rebounds in last night’s game.
Down the stretch, Memphis got within five points with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Marc exploded, scoring five straight to cut the deficit to two with less than two minutes left.
A Troy Daniels three pointer grabbed the Grizzlies the lead, 82-81. Portland made a couple free throws to regain the lead, but Toney Douglas had a clutch bucket to put Memphis back up one with 34 seconds left. Then followed a couple more free throw makes by Portland to put them back on top. Douglas made two free throws to put Memphis back up with less than 20 seconds left, and he sealed the win for Memphis with two free throws with .5 seconds left. The Grizzlies came up with the two point win, 88-86, after an incredible comeback led by Big Spain.
"I've got to affect the game in different ways," JaMychal Green on his poor shooting but great rebounding performance. He had 18 rebounds— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 9, 2016
Marc Gasol Is A Beast
Marc Gasol has been on an absolute tear these past handful of games. Last night was no exception, as he ended up with 36 points and nine rebounds on the night, including 4/6 from three point range. Aggressive Marc is back, and he’s been carrying this Grizzlies team on his shoulders. Not only has his game in the paint been impressive, but he’s also been great from beyond the arc. His confidence appears to be higher than ever, and with teammates like Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons out, he’s rising to the challenge of shouldering such a large load. In four of his last five games, Big Spain has had at least 25 points.
"it was easy to just count us out, but we found a way to win," -Marc Gasol.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 9, 2016
Free. Throws. Win. Games.
The Grizzlies shot only 66.7% from the free throw line last night, while Portland only shot 72.5%. While free throws could’ve come back to haunt either team in this match, the Grizzlies managed to make the free throws that mattered most down the stretch. Role players like Toney Douglas made crucial free throws at the end of the game, and ironically it was a pair of made free throws by Douglas that sealed Memphis’ comeback win.
Players like Zach Randolph struggled with hitting free throws in last night’s contest. He was only 3/6 from the line. For Portland, Mason Plumlee was only 2/6 from the line. Marc Gasol hit 6 of 9 of his free throws. Memphis was definitely lucky that those missed free throws didn’t come back to bite them.
Toney Douglas Makes His Debut
Although Toney Douglas played in two previous Grizz games, he played less than 10 minutes in those two matches. Last night, he played 27 minutes and made a huge impact down the stretch against Portland. After hitting a clutch three, he made several free throws, going 4/4 from the line overall. His veteran experience was evident in the game, and he showcased his ability to be trusted down the stretch in a tight game. It’ll be interesting to see now how Fizdale uses Douglas as he gets acclimated to his new team.
Coach says Toney Douglas is "a bulldog" and "isn't afraid of the moment."— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 9, 2016
Next up, the Grizzlies face several top-tier teams, including the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.