Well, that’s certainly a relief. After two brutal losses against the Nuggets and Jazz this past weekend, the Grizzlies have gotten things back in order with a 92-77 win over the Timberwolves. The score was not representative of how one-sided the game truly was, as the Grizzlies took control in the third quarter, at one point accumulating a 23-point lead.
Mike Conley has been one of the best players as of late, and he continued the trend tonight, putting in 20 points on 8-14 shooting, along with six assists and two steals. In the past, Conley was something of a minimalist point guard, but he’s recorded some of his higher point totals of the season in the last few weeks, and it’s clear that with Rudy Gay out of the picture, Conley is eager to play a more active role in the offense.
Zach Randolph put it in yet another double-double because, well, that’s just what he does. Randolph shot 7-11 from the field, and put in 14 points and 10 rebounds. It’s the kind of night that can be easily taken for granted just because we’ve become so used to everything Z-Bo does for the team. The same could also be said for Marc Gasol, who put in 16 points and 8 rebounds, while being his usual menacing self of the defensive end, where he recorded four blocks. Jerryd Bayless was the Grizzlies best bench player, as he recorded 15 points on 7-12 shooting, and looked like the excellent sixth man we thought he might be when the Grizzlies acquired him back in July.
For the Timberwolves, this game was a complete mess. After being competitive in the opening moments, the Wolves faded quickly and were completely unable to put up a fight against the first rate Grizzlies defense. None of the their starters reached double digits, and the the usually flashy Ricky Rubio was dreadful tonight, with only two points and two assists. Rubio shot 1-6 from the field in 21 minutes of playing time.
Some of the Wolves bench players showed some fight in this game, but it simply wasn’t enough. Rookie guard Alexey Shved put in 12 points, while under-the-radar forward Mickael Gelabale had 11 on just shots. Minnesota’s bench thoroughly outshined their starting five in this, but it still wasn’t enough to topple the Grizzlies, who were firmly in control of this game from start to finish.
Had it not come against such a weak opponent, this would have been a signature game for the Grizzlies defense, which held the Timberwolves to a 33.7 shooting percentage. Shots were bricking all night long for Minnesota, who left the court thoroughly embarrassed. Now the Grizzlies’ losing skid has ended at two, they’ll attempt to begin another winning streak when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder. This game will certainly be a challenge, and it should be a good barometer of where this team as they prepare for the playoffs. For the time being, however, they can celebrate an excellent win, even if it wasn’t against the best competition out there.