In what turned out to be a great day for casual NBA fans everywhere, the Grizzlies and Clippers turned in an early contender for game of the year to steal the show in the nightcap on ESPN as Memphis came away with an 111-107 victory.
Like all Memphis battles with the Clippers, there were hard fouls and back-and-forth momentum swings, but with a lot more three’s.
Overall, this was easily the best win of the young season for the Grizzlies. To not only come to Los Angeles and take down the hottest team (and consensus best-looking team) but to do so by becoming the first team to score 100 points on the Clippers in the Staples Center this season? Somebody make sure David Fisdale never leaves.
It was a much-needed, confidence-building win for a 5-5 Grizzlies squad that was sitting in the ninth seed out West coming into the night.
Mike Conley turned in his best performance of the season so far, nailing a career-high seven three-pointers on nine shots from behind-the-arc, shooting 9-12 overall, and tying his season-best mark of 30 points he scored against the Clippers in the 99-88 loss earlier this year. Conley added five rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and some classic Grizzlies Grit late in the game to complete the all-around performance.
Marc Gasol continued his transformation into a Spanish, defensive-minded Kyle Korver by shooting 4-5 from deep himself and nailing the game-winning three as the clock was winding down. The seven-foot sniper also collected six rebounds and six assists and broke out his Sam Cassell-inspired gangly celebration dance after the game-clinching bucket. Marc also forced the turnover that led to the game-winning possession.
It was a great night for Zach Randolph as well, as it usually is when he faces off against his eternal enemy Blake Griffin. ZBO scored 18 points on 7-13 shooting and grabbed seven boards in only 26 minutes of action. Jamal Crawford better keep his Sixth Man of the Year award locked up tight.
Speaking of super-subs, Old Man Vince Carter continued his hot streak, posting 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 27 minutes of playtime. It looks like Carter as a full-on rotational piece is not a fluke. Expect a more thorough breakdown on this in the coming days.
Andrew Harrison set Twitter ablaze with a soul-crushing, point-stealing block on Chris Paul in the third quarter, leading directly into an absurd sequence of events AND a 10-0 Grizzlies run to give them their biggest lead of the night.
And it wasn’t as if the Clippers had an off night. Despite scoring only nine points, Paul dished out six assists, played some killer defense (including grabbing five steals), and sank what looked to be his own game-winner late in the fourth.
J.J. Redick caught fire in the second half and finished with 29 points, including a 7-12 three-point performance.
Blake Griffin delivered a solid, if not spectacular, 25-point, eight rebound night. Crawford poured in 15 with some of his usual fourth-quarter clutchery. DeAndre grabbed 14 boards, threw down some dunks, and played solid interior defense.
It may not have been the Clippers at their absolute apex, but they played pretty dang well. And for the Grizzlies to come into their place and win like that bodes well for this team and this season.