During Lionel Hollins’ tenure as the Memphis Grizzlies head coach, his team has been able to win in a lot of ways. They’ve won close games, blow outs, ugly games and fun games.
If you keep track of such things, Monday’s night game against the Chicago Bulls qualifies as an “ugly” game, and per usual the Grizzlies pulled it out.
The team known around the league for it’s “all heart, grit and grind” trademark pulled together and scored enough points to beat the team that had the best record in the league over the past two seasons.
Chicago entered the game in Memphis on a bit of a roll but left with their lowest scoring game of the season. The Bulls shot just 37% from the field and while they held the Grizzlies to an almost identical number, the Grizzlies hit four more three pointers than the Bulls did. In a tight game, those long two-pointers becoming threes can be pretty crucial.
The Grizzlies trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter as the Bulls got points from all of their starters except point guard Kirk Hinrich, but quickly got back into the game on the strength of a 28 point second quarter spurred on by reserve guard Wayne Ellington’s 11 straight points. That run began with the Grizzlies down two points and ended by putting them up three.
The Grizzlies would never trail again.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies in scoring with 17, and Zach Randolph had another double-double, but points were at a premium in a game that featured the top two scoring defenses in the entire NBA.
It’s always nice to win of course, but coupled with a Grizzlies victory, the Spurs also lost to Oklahoma City, which pulled the Grizzlies within a game of the Southwest Division lead. The Grizzlies have never won a division title in franchise history and while it’s still very early, you don’t want to let the Spurs too far out of your sight.
The Grizzlies remain at home on Wednesday and host the Milwaukee Bucks in another ESPN nationally televised game.