Home sweet home, indeed.
The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Indiana Pacers 110-97 in the friendly confines of FedExForum last night. The Grizz were clicking on all cylinders, pulling out a win the team desperately needed. Memphis controlled the game from the beginning and never looked back. Coach Fizdale went with a different starting lineup that seemed to work. It’s a small ball lineup that Fiz may pull out in the playoffs.
Now, to the team grades.
Mike Conley- A+
As you could have guessed I didn’t have to think very hard about this one. Mike Conley was everything tonight. He scored 36 points (2 shy of his career best) and had 6 assists. On the offensive side of the ball, he was unbelievably efficient. He scored 22 in the first half on 8/11 shooting, and hit six of seven threes. Even defensively he made his presence felt. He held Jeff Teague to only 4 points. Mike Conley has been carrying the load with Marc Gasol out, but no performance has been better than tonight.
Tony Allen- C+
Tony Allen blows past Paul George— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) March 30, 2017
"YOU REACH I TEACH" pic.twitter.com/UqQsQ5ocuH
It may be better to just watch this replay over and over and not look at Tony’s overall shooting night tonight. TA had an off night, only scoring 7 points on 2-10 shooting. However, his biggest contribution to the game was locking down Paul George for most of the night. While George did end up with 22 points, at the end of the first half, he only had 8. That is one of the major tipping points of this game in favor of the Grizzlies.
Vince Carter- A
Vintage Vince Carter was back with a vengeance. He scored 21 points and was on fire from three-point land. He made his first four threes and had his fall away jumper in the paint down. When Vince Carter is feeling it like he was last night, he is one of the most fun players to watch in the league. He knows his role on this team but, at the same time, has the same edge and swagger he carried with him in his prime.
James Ennis III- B
This may be a high grade for someone that shot 3-9 for only 7 points, but I loved his game tonight. He brought a different element to a small ball starting lineup, which fit his role well. He ended up with 10 rebounds, which is key if a smaller lineup can work. He kept the pace up, being able to run and contribute to the Grizzlies’ season high in points for the first half with 72 points.
Brandan Wright- B-
Brandan Wright got the start tonight. He got his opportunity, and he made decent work with it. I have been in the Brandan Wright camp now for a while. I think he’s the athletic big man type the Grizzlies could use in small ball lineups against faster teams. However, he just can’t manage to find his consistent role on this team. Maybe this comes with the talent level, or maybe it comes with more time, but he did have 16 points tonight. These are the games he needs (and more than 4 rebounds would be nice).
The Bench- B
Zach Randolph made his way back to the bench even with Gasol out, and that was the right call. He has been thriving as a reserve all season, including last night’s 17 points and 6 boards. He even had some defensive pop that made an impact early. That was the big positive. The negative for the bench is that no one else did much. Troy Daniels had 5 points in 19 minutes but could not find his shot all game. Andrew Harrison had only 4 points before coming out of the game with a rolled ankle, or at least we hope. More production from the bench would be nice, but ZBo had another great performance and Troy is just a streaky shooter.
With this win and good play all around, the Grizzlies have hopefully knocked their funk and can start rolling again. They have a match-up this coming Friday against the Dallas Mavericks, a team they lost to in their last contest. If the team can start playing full four-quarter games, it will bring some hope regarding the upcoming NBA Playoffs.