With the first game without the anchor in the middle and Grizzlies leading scorer Marc Gasol in the books, and the final game before the All Star Break, the Memphis Grizzlies take care of business on the road in Brooklyn, 109-90.
Early on, the absence of Marc looked to take its toll on the team as a whole, lacking an identity and looking out of sync. However taking advantage of turnovers kept Brooklyn from opening up a decisive lead early, with the opposition shooting 60% in the opening period. With JaMychal Green getting the start for the injured Marc Gasol, the focus shifted to how this smaller lineup would work to contain Brook Lopez. Lopez finished on his average of 20 points, while JaMychal finished with 15, a win for the battered Grizzlies.
Now I know I’m not the only one who wishes Zach Randolph could play 48 minutes a game with the absence of Gasol, but unfortunately, he’s human. And when he’s out, the inability to rebound is really, really frustrating. Luckily, we have Jeff Green, who has embraced his role over the past couple of weeks and has had a great first half for the Grizzlies. On a scary note, the undercut that Mike Conley took like a champ in the second made me cringe and my heart stop (I’m sure I’m not the only one). After a pretty solid second quarter, Memphis led by 5 going into the break.
Then, the third quarter happened. That third quarter is what dreams are made of if you’re a diehard Grizzlies fan. The third quarter looked as though they were having fun and just weren’t going through the motions, which was a breath of fresh air. With the absence of Gasol, the big question was how this team would respond being a man down. Memphis absolutely blew the doors off the Barclays Center in the third, and I don’t think there’s a more accurate way to describe it. A string of 3-pointers by Jeff Green, who finished with 18 off the bench, gave way to the largest lead the Grizzlies have had at any point this season, which was a 26 point lead to end the third.
Both teams seemed to coast to the finish line with not a lot of action in the fourth, and the Grizzlies pulled out the win. Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 20, and Zach Randolph finished with 15. Going in to the All Star Break, the Grizzlies are 31-22 and are sitting in the 5 spot in the Western Conference.