The Memphis Grizzlies entered Monday night’s game in Washington D.C. with a ton to play for. They left on the business end of one of the best individual performances of the 2012-2013 NBA regular season to date.
John Wall dropped 47 points on the Grizzlies to compliment his 8 assists and 7 rebounds. It was the type of all-around performance that many expected from the point guard from Kentucky when he was taken with the first overall pick at the 2010 NBA Draft but injuries and inconsistent play have plagued him through most of his first three seasons. Nothing plagued him on Monday. Wall scored 17 of his 47 in the 4th quarter to turn a two point Wizards lead entering the final frame into a laugher.
The Grizzlies entered the game slightly short-handed with Marc Gasol being ruled out after an abdominal injury suffered over the weekend, but the Grizzlies had managed to beat the Boston Celtics at home on Saturday night without him and were hanging around on the road until Wall took over.
A quick glance at the Grizzlies’ box score shows a few puzzling stats, namely:
– Eight shot attempts for Zach Randolph in a game in which Marc Gasol was out. This is inexcusable and while Lionel Hollins can only control so much from the sideline, I have to think that 8 shots is far too few for your best scorer in a game in which your second best scorer is already missing. This goes double when…
– Mike Conley takes 14 shots. He hit 7 of them for a more than respectable 50% from the field, but it seems like anytime Conley nearly leads the team in shots (he was second behind Jerryd Bayless against Washington) the Grizzlies struggle to win. It could be a coincidence and maybe I’m totally wrong, but that’s how it comes across to me. Then again, the Grizzlies ran into a buzz saw against the Wizards in a game that most any team in the league may have lost with Wall being so effective on that given night, so maybe this a huge overreaction.
– Wall had a great night, and you can’t take that away from him, but where was Tony Allen? He played 16 minutes for the whole game. Not per half. He played 16 out of 48 minutes in the entire game in a situation where an opposing perimeter player had gotten so hot that he literally couldn’t miss. It could have been his 1-6 shooting or just one of those Hollinisms, but Allen played like he was a role player rather than an integral part of the Grizzlies’ machine.
Making matters worse, the Grizzlies lost a winnable road game on a night in which Denver lost for the first time in weeks as well. The Grizzlies could have picked a game up on the Nuggets but instead stayed even and in this case, even actually means behind since Denver owns the tiebreaker. It may not seem like a big deal now, but if the Grizzlies have to play a potential game 7 on the road in the high altitude of Denver, Colorado then this will be one of those missed opportunities that teams always wax poetic about after an early playoff exit.