Last week truly summed up the season for the Memphis Grizzlies. It started with back-to-back losses for the first time, including a crushing loss to Rudy Gay and the Raptors. Then on the road Memphis brings back the grind, holding back-to-back opponents to less than 90 points. Lastly, they top it off with a win on the road against the Clippers, as the “friendly” rivalry continues. Now the question is are the Grizzlies figuring it out after two weeks and eight games they have a nice little three-game winning streak, all of the wins on the road. Remember last year Memphis won eight straight at the beginning of the year propelling them to the 56-win season last year.
Looking Back One Game at a Time
Monday, Nov. 11 at Indiana Pacers
As usual the Grizzlies started off slow, scoring only 16 points; however, the defense was playing well, holding the Pacers to 46 points in the first half. Then again the third quarter was a 16-point quarter and the offense could not recover against a very good Pacers defense. The Grizzlies for once did not turn the ball over but could not put the ball in the basket, shooting 41 percent from the field and 68 percent from the line and with stats like that most teams will lose on the road. Only three players got into double figures, and with only seven fast break points it is easy to see how the Grizzlies only scored 79 points for the game.
Wednesday, Nov. 13 vs. Toronto Raptors
Back home for on Wednesday night for the homecoming of Rudy Gay, everyone figured the Grizzlies would rebound against the Raptors at home. Again Memphis started the game off slow with a 20-point first quarter and from there they were never able to recover. In the end the Raptors ended up winning by 16 and Gay had 23 points in his return, hitting four 3s in the win. Both Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol had double-doubles; however they only took 23 shots between them. Mike Conley took 19 shots for the game, 10 of those being for 3, where Conley only shoots 30 percent on the year. This game felt like the low point of the season, the Grizzlies had lost back-to-back games for the first time all year and to make matters worse to lose to Rudy Gay’s Raptors felt like a low blow.
Friday Nov. 15 at Los Angeles Lakers
Grizzlies’ fans wondered how the team would react to the first losing streak of the year, and a road trip to the West Coast seemed to be just the doctor ordered for Memphis. The Grizzlies for the first time in a long time out scored their opponent in the first quarter, and held the Lakers to 17 points. The Lakers came back and played better in the second and third quarters, but that is when Randolph took over. Z-Bo scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter; he was 11-of-18 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line. It felt like the first time Memphis made an effort to get the ball inside, further proof of that are Gasol’s numbers, he had 18 points, eight rebounds and a team-high eight assists. When Randolph and Gasol work together like they did Friday the Grizzlies are tough to beat, as evidenced by the 89-86 win in L.A.
Sunday Nov. 17 at Sacramento Kings
This game had trap written all over it, the Grizzlies were coming off of a win and had the Clippers on the schedule of the next day. However, Memphis started off strong again on both ends for the floor, scoring 47 in the first half and, even better, holding the Kings to 34 first half points. Again it was Randolph and Gasol working together with another double-double for Randolph of 22 points and 10 rebounds. But again Gasol lead the team with nine assists, he also added 19 points and eight rebounds–almost his second triple-double. The Kings tried to make a comeback in the second half, but with the Grizzlies shooting 55 percent from the field there was little they could do on defense to slow down Memphis.
Monday Nov. 18 at Los Angeles Clippers
The Grizzlies and Clippers have developed a nice little rivalry with help from playing each other in back-to-back postseasons, with the Clippers winning two years ago and Memphis winning last year. Both teams really do not like each other as evident by the karate kick to the face of Chris Paul by Tony Allen, leading to Allen being ejected in the first quarter. But on a back to back game with a short bench and no Allen the Grizzlies were able to grind out their best win of the season. Again like the previous two wins Randolph and Gasol were terrific. Gasol had nearly a triple-double for the third straight game, he ended with 23 points, nine rebounds and a team-high eight assists for the third straight game. Then Randolph led the team with 26 points and 15 rebounds, he was very efficient by going 10-of-16 from the field. Since the big men for the Grizzlies have been leading the way Kosta Koufos decided to join the starters and go a perfect 5-of-5 from the field for 10 big points and nine rebounds off the bench. This win feels like the start of something great for Memphis, but they cannot celebrate for too long with a trip to Golden State on Wednesday.
The Good and The Bad
Zach Randolph has four straight double-doubles, averaging 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds.
Marc Gasol is averaging a near triple-double for the three wins at 20 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists.
The loss at home to Toronto is the bad of the week; with a three game win streak we will give the team a break from criticism.
Stat of the Week
For the first time all year your Memphis Grizzlies are one game above .500, pretty hard to believe with all the hype coming into this year.
The next three games will tell everyone if the Grizzlies are for real, they have Golden State on the road on Wednesday, and then come home for San Antonio on Friday and Houston comes to town on Monday.