Want a barometer for the state of the Grizzlies season? Tonight they started Mike Conley, P.J. Hairston, Zach Randolph, Matt Barnes, and JaMychal Green. Tony Allen continues to recover from a sore knee.
Buoyed by 3 triples by Barnes and Hairston and a 2 and-one's by Green, the Grizzlies jumped out to an early lead and enjoyed a 36-point first quarter. The Laker's interior defense, softer than warm butter, gave Mike Conley plenty of room to slice and dice, helping the Grizz build an early 18-2 edge in paint points. In fact, LA's defense was so discordant that I think they helped the new look Goon Squad gel tonight - the passing looked downright telekinetic at times, leading to open lanes and easy buckets throughout the first half. Things got a little hairy with the Lakers pulling back within four late in the second quarter, a run which just so happened to coincide with a Grizzlies lineup of Conley, Stephenson, Barnes, Jarell Martin, and Birdman – but Memphis quickly built the lead back to make it 67-58 by halftime.
The Grizzlies continued to shoot a ridiculous percentage from the floor out of halftime, ripping off another 30-point quarter in the third, yet were unable to shake the Lakers and found themselves up just 11 with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter, despite having already broken the century mark. A 10-2 run over the next few minutes gave the Grizzlies back their largest lead of the game at 17, which they rode to the 9-point win.
In between all the "KOBE" chants and Rock 'n Jock stretches of play, this game will turn out to be an interesting one in the development of the new lineups. There was plenty to like offensively from Conley, Barnes, and even Stephenson (more on that below), but giving up 119 to the 11-win Lakers is worrisome.
Clip of the Night
Somebody call Lance Stephenson an Uber.
Go home, Lance, you're drunk pic.twitter.com/Qpzi1P9Ghs— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) February 25, 2016
Notes & Nuggets
- The 67-point first half was the Grizzlies' most offensively productive all year.
- Vince Carter scored his 23,759th point tonight, passing Charles Barkley on the all-time scoring charts.
- After going 0-6 against Toronto, Matt Barnes had a season-high 25, including five threes.
- Speaking of Matt: Farewell, Kobe, O Great Unflinching One.