In a game that at times looked like it would set basketball back a decade or two, the Memphis Grizzlies found enough offense to pull out a win over the woeful Washington Wizards 107-95. Memphis thrived on defense, forcing lots of turnovers and taking advantage of undisciplined and ineffective play from star players for the Wizards like John Wall.
Some quick thoughts on how the Grizzlies picked up this W.
- The Wizards are bad. Sometimes it helps to be matched up with a team with more issues than you. Sure, John Wall had 22 points and 7 assists, but his 9 (!!!) turnovers were a major reason Washington struggled so mightily. 20 turnovers will cripple any team, and while the Wizards clearly had issues with the length and defensive movement of Memphis some of their wounds were self-inflicted.
- Marc Gasol is still quite good at basketball. 19 points on 10 shots, 70% overall shooting, along with six assists, five rebounds, and five steals? This is peak Gasol. He took advantage of a weaker Washington big rotation and was aggressive, especially later in the game. He show abnormally bad from the free throw line (3-7?) but beyond that, Wendigo balled out. The best news is, to an extent, this Gasol showing is realistic - minus a steal, made shot, and assist here and there - moving forward.
- Just wait til they click... Here is a friendly reminder that three of the five starters, and five of the eleven players that got minutes, were not on this roster six months ago. Kyle Anderson had his best game as a Grizzly with 5 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. Garrett Temple posted a team-high 20 points and also snagged seven rebounds for a board hungry team. These two, plus the surprisingly effective Shelvin Mack (14 points and 8 assists in 30 minutes), were major pieces of this win tonight. They should only get better, as long as the health of Gasol and Mike Conley holds up.
The Grizzlies have found a way to get to 4-2, and for a team coming off a 22-60 campaign even in a small sample size this is a welcome return to competitive relevance. Memphis is back in action on Friday night as they head out to Utah to take on the Jazz for the second time in less than two weeks.