Though the Memphis Grizzlies may not be the same team that claimed the Southwest Division title and won 50-plus games during their previous two seasons coming into 2023-24, during this year's campaign they've proven that they can give an opponent a real fight on any given night thanks to their high-end hustle and grit and grind attitude.
This seemed to be on full display Sunday during a matinee game against Indiana as Taylor Jenkins' injury-ravaged squad gave the Pacers (27-20) a run for their money through 48 minutes of action.
While they may not have come away with a victory, as they fell by a final score of 116-110, their competitive spirit and refusal to quit down the stretch played key roles in Memphis staying in a game that, based on health and sheer star power alone, they arguably had no business being in.
In specific, following the contest, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle highlighted the fact that his team's matchup against the Grizzlies proved to be "very tough," and specifically singled out forward David Roddy as being a driving force in this particular aspect of the game.
Pacers coach praises Grizzlies forward David Roddy for toughness
"When [Luke] Kennard was unable to play and they put [David] Roddy in the lineup it just was sending a message that this is going to be a physical battle. They're physical anyway but him in the starting lineup was a further message of that. As much as you try to prepare your group for how physical it's going to be, words don't do justice to it. "- Rick Carlisle
A player coach Jenkins has been high on since the offseason, though Roddy may not often have the size advantage in his individual matchups (measures in at 6-foot-4) his impressive athleticism and overall strength help pave the way toward solid on-court production and Carlisle witnessed these intangibles first-hand against his Pacers team.
Slotted into the first-five lineup after a last-second scratch of regular starter Luke Kennard (left-knee soreness), the sophomore stationed in at the starting two spot and, with his brute force brand of play, was able to post a solid stat line of 14 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block and finished as a +4 on the night.
The second-year stud is just one of several examples of Grizzlies who play with captivating ferocity and energy. His efforts against the Pacers were quite impressive and, in turn, got a much deserved sound of approval from Indy's headman.