The Memphis Grizzlies faced their 4th matchup in the NBA preseason against the Milwaukee Bucks and came out victorious 102-99, advancing their record to 2-2 in the preseason. Swingman Quincy Pondexter led the team with 24 points. Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. The Grizzlies had some mistakes with 13 turnovers which Coach Dave Joerger referred to as “preseason sloppiness”. Grizzlies’ players that did not play tonight were Zach Randolph, Mike Miller, Tayshaun Prince, Kosta Koufos, Willie Reed, and Andre Barrett
Coach Dave Joerger spent a lot of time on tonight’s game in getting these players ready for the regular season physically and mentally. “What I’m trying to do with the guys who have played 4 to 5 games in a row — like Mike Conley — I want to get to him and get him to a point he can say ‘I played a full game and I’m physically and mentally ready back in shape to play a full game’ ” Joerger said. He also believed that he wanted to work on fixing players’ former injuries in time for the regular season. “What I’m trying to do is get them completely healed so that something doesn’t keep nagging for 2 weeks or 4 weeks or six weeks so we want those things to clean them up as quickly as possible.” Joerger said.
Tonight showed again that the key starters such as Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are in regular season mode and their chemistry is working better than ever. The pick and rolls they run off each other makes this team so much better and they are doing really well with Joerger’s new style so now it is up to them to show the rest of the team this new fast tempo offense.
Though it didn’t last very long, whenever Joerger threw in the combo of Jerryd Bayless, Nick Calathes, and Conley, it worked very well for them. “It gives us three ball handlers…as far as you’re trying to get stuff going to the paint, I thought they did a nice job” Joerger said. It was a very fast paced offense that spread the floor even more so they can find a way to get to the paint quicker or throw it Gasol.
Here are some of the players that stood out for me tonight for tonight’s preseason game.
1. Quincy Pondexter- Having 24 points, 2 for 5 from 3 point range, and 4 rebounds Pondexter was clearly tonight’s player of the game. It seemed he felt very comfortable with the starting position and played very well. Maybe this will get Grizzlies fans debating on whether Pondexter should be starting at small forward over Tayshaun Prince.
2. Jerryd Bayless- Having 18 points tonight and going 2 for 7 from 3-point range, it’s obvious that Jerryd Bayless is not having trouble finding his shot. Joerger spoke about his role players like Bayless if they have their shots he wants them to take it and build on their confidence.
3. Marc Gasol- The way Marc is getting the paint and hitting the jump shot, he could have a phenomenal season for the Grizzlies. Having 18 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds, you can’t argue how great of an all-around center Marc truly is and tonight he proved it once again.
4. O.J. Mayo- The former Memphis Grizzlies guard had fans reminiscing of him shooting from the 3 point line and did that very well. Went 4 for 5 from 3 point range for the Bucks and had two very clutch 3’s late in the game however it didn’t help in the end as the Grizzlies got the victory. Mayo has an opportunity here at Milwaukee to really establish his shooting skills and help this team make a run to the playoffs. It’s all a matter of if the rest of the team will help him pick up the slack.
5. Nick Calathes- Talked to Nick after the game and said he was happy about the win, but not happy about his performance from the free throw line. Calathes finished 1-4 from the line and hopes to get better with that. He also talked about being on the court at the same time with Conley and Bayless and said he felt very comfortable and loved the pace of the game with them in.
6. Ed Davis- After watching Davis’ performance tonight I can understand why Grizzlies fans are getting upset with him. Playing 28 minutes and only having 6 points is not what fans are looking for in a backup power forward. Davis did lead the team in rebounds tonight and let’s wait and see in the regular season how he evolves his game. Just remember GrizzNation: it’s preseason.