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Well, we knew the Suns had been, apologies in advance, on fire-especially when one compares performance to preseason expectations.

So much to say about this game, but I’ll just pick my (un?)favorite seven things….

Thing one: Three point defense. Gerald Green. Was Jerry West just eight years ahead of the rest of us knowing that GG would blossom into a legit NBA wing and not just a guy who can blow out a candle stationed on the back of the rim?  Could Tony Allen rein himself in a bit on the perimeter? Well, as it turned out, the Grindfather didn’t get all that much run, as his scoring wasn’t on, and in the first half, the team did better when he was off the floor (end of Q3 TA was -18). Overall, the Grizzlies held the Suns to 8-30  from the arc, and that’ll do just fine.

Thing two: Zach Randolph. The Suns are not a team who will be renowned for their inside defense, and this would make a great game for another classic ZBo night. Plumlee really hustled on the boards (gotta love his nothing-to-lose youthful exuberance), but ZBo got in there and did his dirty work to the tune of  20 and 10 (albeit on 20 shots)  and really helped the team rectify an early deficit on the glass. Boy did they rectify it-the final rebounding tally was 59-40 (!!??!?!?).

Thing three: Could “Atlas” Conley keep carrying the team on his back? Dragic is the kind of guy who makes life difficult for MC11-long, tough, and pretty quick for his size…and a guy who can push Conley on the defensive end. And  push he did in that putrid third quarter. He’s tall, he’s long, and he’s got that toughness gene. Like Allen, Prince, and to a degree Koufos, Conley deferred to the bench this night for the team’s best stretches.  Conley is undoubtedly fatigued beyond belief, and it’s only January, so it’s a goooood thing that Bayless (more on him in a second) came on in the fourth.

Thing four: JAMES JOHNSON!!!! JAMES JOHNSON!!!!! IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DISCUSS THIS MAN USING LOWER-CASE LETTERS! Another block of a three pointer and some silly fouls. The pattern emerges.

Thing five: Generating good shots, and not just because of Conley. Can this happen? It did this night. Bayless has officially earned “streaky” as a descriptive term. He was a streak of Arizonan plasma in that fourth quarter, and it garnered the team a great road win against a team who’s been hot. Honorable mention to Mike Miller-he made smart decisions with the ball when he had it, and had anonymously helpful Mike Miller games-11/7/4 with zero turnovers and a team-leading plus-24 for the game.

Thing six: Getting to the line and keeping the opponent off it. This isn’t about officiating (although any homer should complain about officials from time to time, and I’m certainly “any homer”). This is about execution and hitting spots on both ends. The Grizzlies gave up two  more FTA’s and one more FT made, and with as chippy as the game got in the second half, ya gotta take that tally and run with it on the road.

Thing seven: Victory or defeat? VICTORY. No matter how you get there. *insert hackneyed Al Davis quote here*. The Grizzlies are gonna have a tough time in Denver, ‘cuz the Nuggets (is the team gonna change its now-oh-so-ironic name now?) are going to see the Grizzlies on a back to back and think “this is how we get back on our feet”.

Great win against a team who has wildly exceeded expectations. Great start to the road trip.

All’s right in Grizzliesworld..for about 22 hours.

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One Response to Grizzlies 99 Suns 91. How To Start a Road Trip, by Ed Davis.

  1. btrautscNo Gravatar says:

    1. ZBo with 20 and 15 (5 offensive boards) on 50% shooting was great. He took a few rushed shots, was clearly out hustled a few times, but overall was an incredibly difficult load for the PHX bigs to handle.

    2. Bayless, James Johnson, Miller, and the combo of Leuer and Davis saved this game. The starters got out hustled and run off the floor in the 3rd – then the bench really turned it on.

    3. The quagmire of Prince/ Johnson/ Miller minutes. Miller is playing excellent but at times last night he looked like he was struggling to get up and down the floor. 33 minutes is not Ok for Mike Miller night in and night out anymore. Prince was… painful to watch. JJ is the most exciting thing to happen to the Grizzlies since… ever? He a sparkplug for 22 minutes last night and his blocked 3 was a huge momentum shift. He gets into the lane at will and is an extremely willing passer.

    I am still a firm proponent that we need wing help asap (especially in the 3pt shooting dept) but JJ is changing the way the Grizz can work offensively in the near term. My opinion is Davis/ Prince/ Bayless, or 2 of the 3 is on the way out to facilitate a move to strengthen our wing offense, but ideally we could pick up a 2/3 combo who has polished enough skills/ shooting to allow JJ & TA to get 15-25 minutes of great energy a night.

    I’m not sure what the market is for a Prince/ Davis combo, but every day Gasol gets closer I am making calls to get a feel for that. Evan Turner/ Jeff Green?

    4. Big game in terms of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. The Grizzlies starters were ready to lose this game and move on. Conley’s legs were dead. Bayless had other plans. Ed Davis had other plans. JJ being JJ. Fun to watch that turnaround.

    5. If Andre Miller is being shopped… I am interested.

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