Memphis Grizzlies Fall to Cleveland 91-105


Dec 21, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Shawn Marion (31) drives against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies dropped to 21-6 on the season after coming up short on Sunday evening to the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 91-105.

Coming into this game, the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers had won their last game (versus Brooklyn) and 15 of 25 overall. Since these two teams’ last regular season meeting, the Cavs have regained LeBron James to their roster, along with other additions in power forward Kevin Love and many veteran shooters.

Grizzly starters Tony Allen and Zach Randolph were not in the lineup today due to injuries, so in order for the Grizz to win, they would have to dig down deep and get a full contribution from all available players for 48 complete minutes.

Had Randolph and Allen been available, it would have been very likely for the Grizz to leave Cleveland with their 22nd victory of the season. Even without the two starters, the grit-and-grind Grizzlies made it a close game through three quarters. Also, some meaningful minutes against good competition were given to the young guys on the team, including both Grizzly rookies.

Below, you can find all of the details of the grind from Sunday’s evening battle.

First Half

The Grizz encountered a slow start in Ohio, where Marc Gasol picked up two fouls in the first six minutes while the score favored Cleveland 11-4. The slow start mounted and the lead was 22-8 Cavaliers until Memphis finally got their heads into the game.

Nick Calathes saw some early minutes and that provided a spark. Kosta Koufos also did a solid job in helping the Grizzlies close the gap.

Calathes nailed a three-pointer in the closing moments to end the first quarter, but it was reviewed by officials and ruled as being shot after the buzzer. The Cavaliers led by a score of 22-19.

It did not get much better for Memphis for the remainder of the first half. The Grizz bench was carrying the team for the most part, but the Cavs’ starters were too overpowering.

Once down by 14, the Grizzlies were able to rally somewhat in the final minute of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 52-41 at halftime–advantage, Cleveland.

At the half, Marc Gasol led Memphis with 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Anderson Varejao scored 12 points and LeBron James registered nine points and nine assists for the Cavaliers. The Cavs outrebounded Memphis in the first half by five boards.

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  • Second Half

    The third quarter began with a Grizzly surge, led by Big Spain and Jon Leuer–off of Mike Conley’s helping hands. After a Conley layup, the scoreboard read 65-60 with the Cleveland Cavaliers still in the lead.

    Memphis cut the deficit to four with two minutes left in the third period; however, the Grizzlies had a turnover and two back-to-back fouls, including Quincy Pondexter’s fourth personal foul, that stalled a run.

    The Grizzlies would keep fighting by going through their MVP–Marc Gasol–but would find themselves down by a score of 77-70 by the start of the fourth quarter.

    The final period begin as a back-and-forth affair. The Grizzlies could not gain any ground in the first three minutes. The game would remain this way until Cleveland broke the door down with an and-one layup made by Dion Waiters. This gave the Cavs a 96-81 lead with a free-throw ensuing.

    The Grizzlies’ rookie Jordan Adams, whom was recalled earlier today from the NBDL’s Iowa Energy, checked into the game with 5:20 remaining on the clock. This was an early sign of Memphis waving the white flag. Adams’ fellow rookie teammate, Jarnell Stokes, checked in the game with 3:55 left. Stokes was also recalled earlier today. Both rookies returned from their third NBDL stints with the Energy of the season.

    The Grizzlies were not able to make any headway in the last few minutes. The Grizzlies lost just their sixth game of the season by a final score of 105-91 to the Cavs. These two teams do not meet again until March.

    Marc Gasol would finish with a double-double (23 points, 11 rebounds). The Cavaliers’ James and Irving would add double-doubles of their own (25 points/11 assists and 17 points/12 assists, respectively).

    The box score, produced by ESPN, can be found here.

    Key Game Notes

    •  Zach Randolph (knee) and Tony Allen (eye) were out due to injuries.
    • Jon Leuer (power forward) and Tayshaun Prince (small forward) were inserted into starting roles.
    • Rookie watch: Jordan Adams finished with four points and one rebound; Jarnell Stokes added four rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
    • The Grizzlies wound up winning the rebounding battle by a five-board advantage.
    • Cleveland shot 50% from behind the arc and 60% overall.
    • Memphis shot 45% overall, but made just one of 16 three-pointers.
    • Memphis logged just nine turnovers, five less than Cleveland.
    • The Grizzlies came up with six more steals than the Cavaliers.
    • The Cavs’ Dion Waiters, whom has been mentioned in trade rumors involving both of these teams, scored 21 points off the bench.

    Fantasy Watch: Grizzlies Edition

    •  Marc Gasol: 23 points (10-17 shooting), 11 rebounds, five assists, one block, four turnovers
    • Mike Conley: 11 points (5-13 shooting), two rebounds, five assists, one steal, zero turnovers
    • Jon Leuer: 16 points (7-14 shooting), seven rebounds, two assists, two steals
    • Vince Carter: 12 points (5-9 shooting), three rebounds, one assist, two steals

    Next Game

    The Memphis Grizzlies return home on Monday evening to face Gordon Hayward and the Utah Jazz (8-20)–the first matchup of the season between the two teams.

    Go Grizz!