As the Grizzlies looked to rebound from a bad night out in Indiana, the effort seemed to be better, but the execution was still nonexistent early. Not a very pretty start to this game for either team, as they shot a combined 10-31 through the first 8 minutes. Although low scoring, the Grizzlies defense was not on a string to start the game and gave up many open looks as a result. As the bench checked in, the intensity picked up; Zach Randolph even got himself a dunk. With such abysmal shooting and subpar defense, the Grizzlies managed to keep it close by crashing the offensive glass, with 6 offensive boards in the 1st quarter.
Mike Conley turned up the heat on the Nuggets in the second period. As the Grizzlies shooting began to pick back up as a whole, it allowed them to get ahead a bit in a game full of lead changes. However, they were not able to gain any significant ground as they racked up plenty of silly turnovers. Along with those turnovers, it appeared that the Grizzlies defense was still on All-Star break as the miscommunications and missed rotations continued, on the fast break especially. Combine that with the fact the team only made 1 trip to the FT line, the Grizzlies went into the half with a mere 3 point lead.
The third quarter started with much of the same narrative as the 1st half. The Grizzlies continued to look disinterested on the defensive end, while making some of the most careless mistakes on the other end of the floor. The Nuggets ramped up their 3-point shooting and were up 6 points midway through the 3rd. While not attacking the paint for the majority of the game, the Grizzlies began going inside more in the third quarter. This allowed the Grizzlies to take advantage of the game and it resulted in a 12 point swing; however, the Nuggets remained hot from three late in the third and managed to tie it up at 68 heading into the 4th.
In the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies began to look more interested and as a result, they began to look more like a playoff team playing a below .500 ball club, although the Nuggets are currently in the 8th spot of the playoff race. The biggest factor in the 4th quarter was, undoubtedly, the effort, especially from the starters. The Grizzlies began flying around on D and began executing with sharp intention on the offensive end. Also, the Grizzlies managed to hold the Nuggets to 0 fast break points in the fourth, which is where they struggled most of the game. Mike Conley and Gasol also got going at the right time as they managed to create real separation from the Nuggets; this is what you expect from your two franchise cornerstones.
The Grizzlies look to carry this same 4th quarter play into a bout against a struggling Suns teams on Tuesday night.