After Reggie Evans’ comments in January about the Memphis Grizzlies reinserting certain starters, most expected a tough, low-scoring battle when the two teams met again in February.
But nobody could have predicted this. The Grizzlies outpaced the Nets on Sunday night at Barclays Center, but barely. Memphis collected a 76-72 win in an ESPN nationally televised contest. While the game probably wasn’t very appealing to a casual fan hoping for a lot of up-and-down play with fast breaks and dunks, the Grizzlies had to be relatively happy with the outcome.
Per usual, the Grizzlies were led by Zach Randolph who posted another double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Randolph continued to struggle from the field as he went only 7-16, but thrived late in the game when the Grizzlies needed buckets.
Marc Gasol was effective as well, scoring 14 points to go with 7 rebounds and 5 assists as his improved passing led to opportunities for his teammates. The 14 points aren’t a season high or anything, but in a low scoring game, it was plenty, and the assists are an underrated part of his game.
The game’s leading scorer was Deron Williams of the Nets. Williams posted 24 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, as well as a big shot late in the 4th quarter that looked like it may put the Nets ahead for good. Williams is the type of point guard that Mike Conley Jr. struggles to guard because he’s not just fast, but he can also post up. Conley can stay in front of quicker guards, but his small frame makes any post defense a tough proposition.
Evans’ comments made the rounds about the internet the day after the Nets’ loss in Memphis and he vowed to remember the disrespect that he felt the Grizzlies had shown to him and his club. Instead, the Grizzlies took the season series from the Nets and improved their record to 37-18, good for 4th in the Western Conference.
The Grizzlies return to Memphis to face the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.