The Grizzlies have had an unfortunate tendency over the past year or so to play down to the level of inferior opponents. It’s a frustrating habit that has lead to a lot of perplexing losses, and a fair amount of close wins that should have been routes. Sunday’s 89-87 win over the Sacramento Kings would fall into the latter category. Luckily, when the Grizzlies took on the Charlotte Bobcats last night, they were able to avoid falling into that trap yet again, as they took down the Bobcats easily, winning by a final of 94-75.
In an increasingly common occurrence, Mike Conley was the star of this game for Memphis, scoring 20 points on 8-13 shooting, while adding seven assists. He also had a rare dunk, putting an exclamation point on yet another great for Conley, who has been the grizzlies best player as of late.
Zach Randolph didn’t play in the fourth quarter, but he still managed to put up a double, putting in 11 points and 13 rebounds. It was a rough night for Z-Bo from the field, as he shot just 5-14, but he still managed to be effective.
The breakout player for the Grizzlies in this game was Jon Leuer. Leuer was acquired from the Cavaliers back in January for Wayne Ellington, Marreese Speights, and Josh Selby, but since arriving in Memphis, he had been decidedly quiet, only receiving minutes at the tail ends of blowouts. Tonight, however, Leuer got a chance to shine, and he certainly used it to his advantage. Leuer scored 11 points in 12 minutes, while hitting all four of shot attempts. Considering how crowded the Grizzlies front court is, Leuer might struggle to see more action in the future. Still, he is definitely a useful player, as he demonstrated last night. Whether or not he’ll be part of the Grizzlies’ long-term plans remains to be seen, but if nothing else, he represents an intriguing asset for the franchise.
For the Bobcats, Kemba Walker had a strong night, with 19 points on 9-17 from the field. Other than, though, the Bobcats had a rough time against the tough Grizzlies defense. Josh McRoberts had been a surprisingly effective pickup for Charlotte, but last night, his work was certainly cut out for him. McRoberts shot just 3-11 in 41 minutes, winding up with eight points and eight rebounds. Bismack Biyombo had 12 rebounds and three blocks, but he also made just one field goal on seven attempts. The Bobcats big men were essentially useless against the stingy D of Marc Gasol and company.
The Grizzlies’ record now stands at 53-24. just a half-game behind the Denver Nuggets. On Friday, they have a key game against the Rockets in Houston. The race for home court is going down to the wire, and the Grizzlies won’t be going down without a serious fight.