This was not the same defending World Champion Miami Heat team taking the court on Wednesday night. Why? Udonis Haslem, Greg Oden, Dewayne Wade and Chris Andersen all sat out for the Heat with injuries and illnesses. But that didn’t matter to the Memphis Grizzlies (who were missing Tayshaun Prince). Afterall, “win by any means necessary” has become the motto, with only 5 games to go in the regular season and 1 game behind a Phoenix team, that is 8-2 in their last 10 games, and fighting (winning?) for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.
Over the past few weeks, I have watched trends develop with the Grizzlies and their days of rest schedule. According to those trends, road games on 1 days rest usually end up in losses (4-9 with Gasol back, beware Lakers upcoming game). Home games on 2 days rest with Gasol healthy, however, are usually wins (Grizzlies have a 110.5 Offensive rating in those 5 games). Tonight, was one of those games on 2 days rest at home. Outcome….win.
Let’s dive in to the numbers:
12- straight Grizzlies home wins, the second longest stretch in franchise history. The last home loss coming to the Mavs back on Feb 5th, 110-96. If the Grizzlies defeat the 76ers Friday night, they will then tie the franchise record at 13, then a win over the Mavs, next Wednesday would set a new consecutive home wins record.
116.9- Defensive Rating for the Grizzlies in the entire game tonight, their 4th worst since Gasol has returned, following up a 121.4 DRtg at San Antonio Sunday night.
119.9- Offensive Rating for the Grizzlies tonight, their 9th best of the season and Miami’s 9th worst defensive outing of the year.
145.5- Miami’s Offensive Rating in the first quarter, including 6/7 from three, 13/19 overall, and 32 points.
132.9- Memphis’ Offensive Rating in the first quarter, including 14/18 from the field and 31 points.
90.64- PACE of the first quarter, which is right up the Grizzlies’ alley. It was the efficient shooting that delivered such a high score. (88.26 for the game)
18,119- people inside FedexForum. However, about 30% of those were Heat jersey wearing, Lebron lovin’, bandwagon jumping, “I’m livin in Memphis,” fake yet vocal fans that only cheered when Lebron did something, like make an uncontested routine dunk as if it was the greatest play ever. The Grizzlies still rank 17th in percentage full in the league at 92.1% of capacity sold for home games.
83%- Grizzlies win percentage (20-4) when scoring more than 100 points this season.
89- points from ZBO (25), Gasol (20), Conley (26), CLee (18) on 62% shooting. Courtney Lee played 36 minutes. Conley, ZBO, Gasol played over 41 minutes. ZBO and Marc played the entire second half.
16- points Lebron James scored (of his 37) while Tony Allen was in the game, 4 of those 16 coming from the FT line. TA was +16, Lebron was -8 for the game.
109.2- Defensive Rating of Tony Allen in 24 minutes played and a 134.1 Offensive Rating for a team high +24.9 NetRtg. Also Tony had the fastest PACE of all Grizzlies players at 91.51.
14- fastbreak points in the 4th quarter for the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies pushed the ball up the court on the Heat, who were on the second game of a back to back.
60- points in the paint for the Grizzlies to Miami’s 30. Grizzlies scored 30 in the second half to Miami’s 8.
15- 4th quarter points off 5 Miami turnovers for the Grizz. 4 of those were Courtney Lee or Mike Conley 3′s.
9- more Free Throw attempts for the Grizzlies,+3 in free throw makes (14/21 vs 11/12)
1) James Johnson got the start. The Grizzlies are now 3-0 in games that James Johnson starts. He played decently, but not good enough. Then again, he is defending and being defended by the best player in the world, and also is being compared to a veteran “All Heart, Grit Grind” leader like Tony Allen. Fair comparison? Maybe not. Regardless, fans got to see him play tonight and the Grizzlies won the game, so that’s a win-win right?
2) Zach Randolph is beasting this year. #feed50 has become a trending hashtag in a litany of games. As many have chronicled throughout the season, he is having a monster year. Once again he had a double double, this time pulling down 11 rebounds and adding 25 points (7-11 shooting). He needs 4 more games like to that to propel the Grizzlies into the playoffs.
3) Nick Calathes can ball! He came in, made big defensive stops when the Grizzlies needed them in the 4th quarter to give Conley a breather and finish 2 offensive plays that were apart of a series of plays that would blossom to a 10 point Grizzlies lead. While not producing at a Rookie of the Month level, he hasn’t needed to with Mike Conley healthy. Calathes is developing more each game and turning into quite the asset the Grizzlies front office were confident they were signing.
4) Ed Davis and Marc Gasol should not play together on the court, ever. Their lineup data suggests they do not do well when on the court together. I have watched this evolve since Gasol returned, yet it keeps being thrown out there in key stretches of games. The two have played 139 minutes together this season (granted a limited sample size, but due to injuries, everything is limited) and have a 2-man lineup worst -34.2 NetRtg. Davis and Koufos have played 284 minutes together and have a 15.6 NetRtg (84.9 DRTg), Davis & ZBO have played 236 minutes together and have a 15.1 NetRtg (96.9 DRtg). I know there are only 4 games left but I can tell you, Davis & Gasol don’t work. Don’t risk it in a close game.
5) Joerger rolled with the starters, ZBO & Marc for the entire second half, and it paid off. LeBron along with Mike Conley sat out all of 2min in the 2nd half. Joerger said he went with those guys because they were on a roll and playing well. I’ve said before when the bench has played well, and got us a lead, that they should stay in the game; so I will give him much credit for rolling with the guys who were making things happen. Miami was up 10 at one point, but the Grizzlies roared back and the Grizzlies big 3 outhustled and outdueled the Heat down the stretch.
6) Shane Battier is retiring at the end of this season and Wednesday night played his final game in FedexForum (unless the Heat/Grizz meet in the Finals). Hopefully he will come back and be involved with the city of Memphis in some way. As one person mentioned to me tonight, I’m sure the Grizzlies TV broadcast team would love to have him join Pete Pranica and Brevin Knight.
7) The stat trends haven’t let me down yet. According to the stats, the Grizzlies owned a 2.8 NetRtg edge on home games with 2 days rest and they won tonight with a 3 NetRtg. Moving forward stat trends say the Grizzlies will win on Friday vs the 76ers, lose Sunday on the road (1 days rest) vs the Lakers, win on Monday night vs the Suns, then win Monday night over the Mavs. Provided that the Spurs beat Phoenix (which you cannot count on anymore), the Grizzlies should make the playoffs with the 8th seed. However, this is one time, in which I wish the trends would be wrong and the Grizzlies would finish 4-0 guaranteeing them the 8th spot.
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Grizzlies are now 4-1 on ESPN this season, with 1 final one remaining next Wednesday night against Dallas.
— Zach Thomas (@zacharytthomas) April 10, 2014