Short-Handed Grizzlies Claw Back to .500

Earlier this afternoon, Grizznation found out Quincy Pondexter is likely out for the season.  This is just the latest injury, and hopefully the last one of the season.  The Grizzlies played the Magic without QPon, Ed Davis, Tony Allen, or Marc Gasol.  Memphis has had some terrible luck so far this season, and hopefully this game will help to change that.  The Grizz played intense defense all night long, but their offense was a little spotty.  This is understandable though with all of the injuries the Grizzlies have been dealing with.  The Grizzlies were in control all night until they got a little lazy in the third quarter.  Memphis had a chance to put away Orlando early in the third, but they were not able to do it.  The Grizz are lucky they did not blow this game, because the Magic cut the Memphis lead to four points late in the fourth.  Jarryd Bayless hit a dagger three with about forty seconds left that sealed the deal.  The Grizz improved to 10-10 while Orlando fell to 6-15.

Orlando had a rough night offensively for most of the game, but their defense got them back into the game in the fourth quarter.  The lack of bench scoring really hurt Orlando.  The Magic only had four points from their bench, and all four came from Jason Maxiell.  Rookie sensation, Victor Oladipo, had ten points, six rebounds, and three assists.  The Magic’s leading scorer, Andrew Nicholson, had nineteen points and eleven boards.  Nicholson was the only Magic player with a double-double.  Glenn Davis had a sixteen and nine night, and Arron Afflalo had seventeen points, five rebounds, and three assists.  Jameer Nelson was also in double- figures for the Magic with nineteen points, and he added five assists.  In the end, the Grizzlies defense was too much for the young Magic to handle.

Memphis came into the game tonight knowing they needed their role players to step up, and they did.  Jamaal Franklin, the grindson, had a career-high eight points, and a steal coming off the bench.  Jon Leuer put up big numbers again tonight.  Jonny Badger had a double-double with sixteen points, and twelve rebounds.  Mike Miller hit some big shots early to help Memphis build an early lead.  Miller had eight points and was 2/3 from three-point land.  Leuer, Franklin, and Miller were all major sparks coming off the bench for the Grizzlies.  Zbo was the Grizzlies’ leading scorer with nineteen points.  He also contributed twelve boards to give him another double-double.  Jarryd Bayless helped out the Grizzlies with three huge threes,including the dagger, and a steal.  Mike Conley was also in double-figures with thirteen points, and seven assists.  Kosta Koufos had eleven rebounds, and was a defensive load that Orlando just could not score on.  The Grizzlies were 10/17 from three-point land which is by far their season high.

Memphis needed this win at home, and they got it.  The short-handed Grizz have to beat the lower tier teams at home.  Even though Orlando is a lottery team, this was an important and encouraging win for Memphis, because they did it without so many important guys.  The Grizz hit a lot more threes than normal, but they also played physical defense and won by a final score of 94-85.  Hopefully Tony Allen and Ed Davis will be back soon, but the Grizz will be without Marc Gasol and Quincy Pondexter for a while.  This is an important stretch of the season, and they have to keep pace with the rest of the West even without some of their best players.  QPon is the only guy that is done for the year so at least the Grizzlies should get Gasol back in the next couple of months.  The Grizz need to stay around .500 until they get Gasol back then hope they can gain ground and make the playoffs.  The Grizzlies host the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night, and they are going to need Tony Allen’s perimeter defense.  The Thunder can spread the floor with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and it could be a long game if Tony Allen is not back.  OKC will come into Memphis as the favorite, but this is a great chance for Memphis to prove they are serious contenders even with some of their stars being injured.

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