The Memphis Grizzlies were on a six game losing streak. They just lost to the San Antonio Spurs over the weekend and now have to play them again down at FedEx Forum amidst some of the biggest issues they have seen all season. The last ten days have been a roller coaster for the Grizzlies and they were looking to get back on the winning side of things for the first time in what feels like forever, against the Spurs.
The Grizzlies started decent, but committed several turnovers and unforced errors within the first few minutes of the game. Mike Conley missed a wide open layup but they still led by four mid way through the first quarter. It was a defensive affair in the first quarter, with both teams playing very tight with neither team scoring above 20 until the last minute of the first quarter when Shelvin Mack hit a three on the last possession to put the Grizzlies up four at the end of the first.
The second quarter started with the a run from the Grizzlies with an all bench unit on the floor. They were able to score in transition, the bench unit for this Grizzlies team is not a group of players that are able to score in the half court, but they were able to play good defense, get out in transition and push the lead to eleven mid way through he quarter. As the starters cycled back into the game throughout the second quarter, they were still able to hold the lead around seven or eight through much of the second quarter. The defense was better than it has been for a quite a while and they were able to sustain the lead going into the halftime. Marc Gasol already had a double double at the break with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 assists. The Grizzlies lead the Spurs at halftime, 42-31.
Grizzlies started the third quarter with the same defensive intensity and were able to hold the lead for the first part of the quarter, even getting under Davis Bertans skin and he got his second technical and was removed from the game. Marc Gasol came back with a strong start to the third quarter scoring 6 more points in the first half of the third quarter. The continued to keep the lead at double digits with the help of Kyle Anderson playing a lot of roles, defending, scoring, assisting, doing everything to help this team keep the lead. Marc Gasol continued his strong play and had 20 points and 10 rebounds at the end of the third, helping the Grizzlies keep a 8 point lead.
An 8 point lead is not a huge lead in the NBA and the Grizzlies had to play excellent defense in the fourth to preserve it. The Grizzlies started to falter in the first part of the quarter but JaMychal Green scored five straight in the middle of the quarter to push the lead back to double digits. Marc Gasol was the difference maker tonight, he played extremely well on offense and on defense and when he plays well, the entire team plays different, everything changes. Mike Conley even had a rough night but was able to get into double figures scoring late in the game. The Grizzlies finally got a win after six straight losses over the San Antonio Spurs, 96-86.
- Marc Gasol had a better first quarter than he has in a long long time, putting in 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, and the Grizzlies led after the first. That’s not a coincidence.
- The Grizzlies played defense in the first half, they were able to take a lead into the second half, because they played elite defense with average offense.
- JaMychal Green has been the most consistent and productive player off the bench all year long.
- When Marc Gasol plays well, everything changes. This team is so different and so much better when he is engaged on defense and aggressive on offense.