The Memphis Grizzlies got a much-needed win on Wednesday night when they throttled the Indiana Pacers.
Despite a left foot strain to Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies took it to the Pacers at FedExForum, ending their four-game losing streak with a 110-97 win.
The Grizz were carried by an uncharacteristically high-octane offense and played the very solid defense that helped build the franchise into a playoff mainstay. Mike Conley and Vince Carter led the way with a barrage of perimeter shooting.
Defensively, the Grizzlies were intense, forcing enough turnovers to win in spite of Indiana’s not-terrible shooting percentage. This was a very good performance by Memphis, and one that they desperately needed.
Conley’s Mastery, Carter’s Complementary Play
Mike Conley was a good as he has ever been in this game.
The former Ohio State standout finished with 36 points, six assists, four steals, and just one turnover. He also connected on 7-of-12 three-point attempts. Conley was in firm control of this game from start to finish, and absolutely dominated Jeff Teague (four points, five assists) in their point guard matchup.
While Conley was the engineer that led an offense that found great shots despite the absence of Gasol, Carter was the main beneficiary.
Vince finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, hitting 4-of-6 three-point attempts while giving the Grizzlies the wing shooting/scoring that they’ve needed. The Conley/Carter combination led the team towards a 110-point explosion behind a strong 46.6% shooting from the field, a figure that was even higher before missed garbage time shots.
When Conley is able to take total control of the offense in this fashion, the Grizzlies are very hard to beat. His ability to dictate the pace and command the floor gave Memphis the best looks that they could hope for. And with a reliable shooter on the wing like Carter was on this night, that opens up many chances on the inside.
Supporting Pieces and Good Defense
While Carter and Conley did the job on the perimeter, the offense became complete with players stepping up on the interior in Gasol’s absence.
Zach Randolph and Brandan Wright were those players.
Wright got the start and made the most of it, showing the effective energy that he routinely brings to each game. He finished with 13 points on 60.0 percent shooting, four rebounds, and two blocks in 28 minutes of play.
Wright’s size, athleticism, and rim-running ability give Conley a great complement as a bouncy, strong big man. And that makes Wright a great player for Randolph to split front court minutes with.
Randolph tallied 17 points, six boards, and three assists off the bench in a very good outing for Z-Bo. He shot 8-for-15 from the floor and played some bully ball against a Pacers frontcourt that lacks a true bruiser.
The Memphis defense did well to contain Paul George and, thus, the Pacer offense.
George scored 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting, and had just four assists and three rebounds. The Grizzlies made George a regular scorer in this game and forced others to beat them. Thaddeus Young may have been the best Pacer with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Aaron Brooks also pitched in 18 points off of the bench.
If you can force Brooks or Young to carry a significant load on offense, then you’re in good shape. The Pacers shot just 43.5 percent, and lost the turnover battle 12-to-8. Perhaps the difference in offenses was the large gap in the point guard play.
This was the first good performance by the Grizzlies in several games, and they will have a chance to build on it.
They welcome the Dallas Mavericks to town on Friday night and have the opportunity to get on a nice winning streak before the beginning of the playoffs. And coming off of a four-game skid that featured losses to Sacramento and New Orleans, the Grizz could use some momentum.
And a healthy Gasol wouldn’t hurt either.