It almost feels like old times, doesn’t it?
For the second time in this early season, the Memphis Grizzlies silenced the Utah Jazz on the road, winning 110-100 to pick up their fifth victory of the season. And while there were plenty of excellent performances to go around, there is one player who truly established himself as a key contributor moving forward.
The same Shelvin Mack whose signing many, including yours truly, could not understand when the Memphis Grizzlies already had three point guards on the roster.
The same Shelvin Mack who seemed to be just a mediocre veteran stop-gap, rather than a real answer at the backup point guard position.
And the same Shelvin Mack who made three key three-pointers in the 4th quarter to lead the Grizzlies to victory tonight. He would have his best night of the season, finishing with 19 points and 6 rebounds.
However, despite Mack’s incredible night, the victory certainly didn’t come easily for the Grizzlies.
While the score was only 57-50 Utah at halftime, the Utah Jazz controlled the first half of the game. Or, to put it more accurately, Ricky Rubio controlled the first half as he consistently shot the leather off of the ball. He had 17 points on 7-10 shooting along with 6 assists at halftime. Joe Ingles rounded them out with 14 points of his own as the Jazz shot 51% from the field and 42% from three.
Of course, the script would flip in the second half as the Grizzlies played with far greater intensity on both sides of the ball. As has been the trend all season, they were able to again win the turnover battle which allowed them to create easy scoring opportunities. They would finish the game with 9 steals to Utah’s 3. Better execution offensively allowed them to shoot 51% from the field and 50% from three (13-26), which helped offset an awful night at the free throw line (62%).
As usual, when Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are great, the Grizzlies usually win. Conley had one of his best nights of the season, totaling 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Gasol once again outplayed Rudy Gobert, finishing with a vintage stat line of 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists.
The Grizzlies will travel to Phoenix to play the Suns on Sunday night.