Last night, the Memphis Grizzlies were beaten handily by one of the best teams in the league as they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 106-89. The Grizzlies were shorthanded with only 9 players available after making a blockbuster three team trade that sent leading scorer Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors Wednesday. The Grizzlies were without the three players they acquired in that deal, forward Ed Davis from the Raptors and forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye from the Detroit Pistons.
All three passed their physicals Friday afternoon and played Friday night against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league and came into the game with a 3-19 road record.
In the first quarter, Mmephis took an early 2-0 lead, but they wouldn’t lead again for the rest of the quarter. The Wizards made it 12-8 with 7:05 left. The Grizzlies would tie it up at 14, but Washington would expand the lead to 28-23. The Grizzlies didn’t score for the last 1:42 of the first, and were down 30-23 going into the second.
The Wizards expanded the lead to 34-25 with 10:42 left in the second quarter. They wouldn’t score again until 2:59 left as Memphis went on a 9-0 run over that period to tie it up at 34. The Grizzlies wouldn’t take the lead for the rest of the half but Washington wouldn’t lead by more than 4 points. The Wizards would take a 40-39 lead into halftime.
The Wizards scored the first 4 points of the third quarter to go up by 5. They wouldn’t lead by more than that. Memphis would not regain the lead until 2 Jarryd Bayless free throws gave them a 50-48 lead with 5:39 left. They would lead for the rest of the quarter, going up by as many as 5 points twice at 57-52 and 61-56. That would be the score at the end of the third.
Although Memphis would never trail or even be tied in the fourth, the game was still in doubt until late in the game. Washington made it 67-66 with 8:22 left, but wouldn’t get closer. Memphis would slowly build up the lead with a 15-6 run to make it 82-72 with 1:10 left. It was the biggest lead of the game for either team. The Grizzlies would hold on for the 85-76 win.
Memphis improved to 30-16 and Washington dropped to 11-35. It was the 7th win in the last 8 games for the Grizzlies against the Wizards. Washington hasn’t won in Memphis since 2004.
Washington shot 41% from the field including 5/20 from 3 point range. The Wizards made all 3 of their attempted free throws. Washington had 31 rebounds, 19 assists, 12 steals, no blocks and 15 turnovers. Washington had 13 fast break points and 36 points in the paint.
Center Nene was the only Wizard in double figure scoring with 14 points. He added 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal. Guard John Wall scored 9 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. He left the game early in the second with a shoulder injury but returned after halftime. Four other Wizards added 8 points each, including Emeka Okafor who also had 10 rebounds.
Memphis shot 44.9% from the field including 1/7 from 3 point range. The Grizzlies made 14 of 17 free throws. Memphis had 46 rebounds, 22 assists, 9 steals, 6 blocks, and 18 turnovers. The Grizzlies had 16 fast break points and 32 points in the paint.
Point guard Mike Conley, Jr. led all scorers with 18 points, and also added 6 assists, 4 steals, and 3 rebounds. Prince scored 14 points in his Grizzlies’ debut off the bench and added 3 assists, a rebound and a block. Center Marc gasol added 13 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. Jerryd Bayless and Tony Allen each had 11 points. Forward Zach Randolph added 7 points and 11 rebounds. Newly acquired Davis and Daye played 5 minutes apiece and combined for 3 points.
Well, it wasn’t very pretty but the Grizzlies won their first game with the new line-up. However, the Wizards are awful, and this doesn’t prove a lot. This team is built for the playoffs, and has 36 games to build up their chemistry with so many new faces. Next up is another game against an inferior team as the Grizzlies host the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night.