The Memphis Grizzlies get their first preseason win of the year against the Israeli Basketball Super League team Maccabi Haifa 116-70. For a team that is known for the defense, the Grizzlies offense had a 59.7 FG% tonight. Coach Dave Joerger decided to play most of his starters tonight excluding Tayshaun Prince. Tony Allen lead the team tonight with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Watching this team tonight you could tell the team chemistry was working tonight and promises to look even better as the season goes along. The offense looks a lot quicker than what we saw in the Lionel Hollins era. The Grizzlies really moved the ball to incredible lengths with having 34 assists for the night mainly led by Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Jerryd Bayless, Quincy Pondexter, and Jamaal Franklin.
Grizzlies players that really caught my attention tonight:
1. Marc Gasol: Marc made his preseason debut this season and looked to be in mid-season form with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Looked very comfortable in Joerger’s new style of offense. Grizzlies’ fans may have gotten scared at the end seeing him playing the last 8 minutes of the game when it was obvious to give him rest. Marc looked really glad to be back at FedEx Forum in front of GrizzNation and it was obvious in the 4th Quarter when he and Zach Randolph decided to help throw t-shirts in the crowd to fans. Only in Memphis preseason games where you will see that.
2. Jerryd Bayless: Bayless has gotten better as the preseason goes along. Having 12 points, 2/3 from the 3 point line, and 4 assists it was really great to see him demanding the ball and seeing that confidence in him that lets Grizzlies fans know he is one of their go to shooters.
3. Jamaal Franklin: The rookie once again and made some mistakes but you can tell he is learning Joerger’s system more and more and will continue to work harder for this team. He became a better passer tonight and is improving his ball handling skills. Franklin finished with 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists.
4. Kosta Koufos: With 10 points and 12 rebounds Grizzlies fans can feel better that he is going to help this Grizzlies team so much. His last performance in the preseason against the Chicago Bulls was very disappoint but tonight was a slight improvement. He will still be a great player for this team coming off the bench.
As for Maccabi Haifa, this was one of those games where they were just glad to be there. The one player for Haifa that stood out tonight was David Cubillan, former Marquette guard, who finished with 17 points, 3 assists, and 4 rebounds. Whenever a team from Europe plays an NBA team in the regular season it reminds me of the teams that faced the 1992 USA Basketball Team where they just knew they wouldn’t win but they were honored to be facing the Dream Team. Both teams Though FedEx Forum wasn’t sold out tonight, GrizzNation was still energetic throughout the game. Just remember that it’s only preseason and the team is still working on chemistry and learning Coach Joerger’s new style but tonight was a major improvement and confidence booster for this team and hoping it will carry on into the regular season.