D – FENCE! Grizzlies shut down Blazers, win 86 – 73

Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins sounded like he was channeling Nostradamus before the game.

“I don’t think of it in terms of ugly or pretty,” he told Eric Hasseltine on the Grizzlies pre-game show. “A win is a win.”

He could have said the same tonight.

Zach Randolph propelled the Grizzlies with 25 points and 20 rebounds, and reserves Tony Allen, Darrell Arthur and Greivis Vasquez played exceptional fourth quarter defense to give the Grizzlies their first home win over the Blazers in the last eight meetings.

The defensive intensity really shined in the fourth quarter, but prior to that both teams bored the crowd of around 3,500 (it was announced at more than 10,000 but no one is buying that) with three quarters of nearly unwatchable basketball that featured both teams shooting below 40%.

One angry fan in the stands kept screaming, “You are completely AVERAGE!”

Was he talking to the Blazers, the Grizzlies, the refs? Unclear.

Prior to the fourth, it really could have been anyone. But, as the coach so succinctly put it before the game, a win is a win, and this win puts the Grizzlies on a three-game streak as they look to continue moving towards a .500 record.

More on the D
The Blazers’ 73 points was the lowest total allowed by the Grizzlies this season, the previous low was 83 points, which were given up two nights prior to the Clippers. The game before that, which started the win streak, featured Phoenix being unable to score 100 points despite having the game go into over time.

“It almost feels like the Vancouver Grizzlies again,” Hollins joked after the game. “We can’t win unless the score is in the 80s.”

Vancouver Grizzlies? Ugh. Let’s hope not.

Dunk of the Game

The game had a FEW interesting moments...

The Grizzlies were able to turn 18 turnovers into 21 points, although most of their fast breaks were broken up by fouls. Rudy Gay executed one cleanly with 3:38 left in the first quarter, gliding to the basket and easily sending home a one handed jam. That’s really the best I’ve got for this one. Not much for dunking.

So how good can this line get?
Despite looking sluggish for most of the night and only scoring 12 points in the third quarter, the game never seemed in doubt for the Grizzlies. The final result was becoming especially clear by about the 3-minute mark, at which point Zach Randolph had already secured his 25 points and 19 of his rebounds. On the following two possessions, Zbo went into “screw this, I’m pumping the line” mode, chunked a hilarious three, and then badly missed a layup which he bounced to himself for his 20th rebound.

Twitter watch
Grizzlies fans, your new Grizz twitter all-star is Sam Young. He has handily replaced Hasheem Thabeet with this title. Wal-Mart, sports thoughts, and heavy participation in the ‘songsthatleadtosex’ hash tag make him the Grizzly you should be following. Currently he’s trying to get his followers to help him get into the dunk contest.

Highlights from this week’s feed:

Just brought (sic) a $140.00 shit and life it in the taxi…. PISSED… SMH
11 Dec, when the Grizz were in L.A. to play the Clippers

Anybody if you see a fly ass cab driver in LA please give me a tweet…
A few hours later.

And Sam, always the team player, had this to say about the Blazers’ win despite not playing:

Always good to get a win

Just like his coach. At least everyone’s on the same page right now.

Final Shots
Tony Allen really came up big for the Grizz on defense for the second night of the row. Highlight was definitely a shot he blocked while standing behind Brandon Roy. Speaking of Roy, his knee was clearly in bad shape, and that plus the strong defensive effort had him shooting 3 of 16 on the night. OJ Mayo did not wear his signature arm sleeve. LaMarcus Aldridge, who many thought would give the Grizzlies a matchup headache, scored 13 points in the first half and ZERO in the second. Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was called for a technical foul in the third quarter. Initial reports said it was because he was cursing too much, interesting because he was “mic’d up” for the TV broadcast, but Hollins refuted that after the game, saying the refs told him they didn’t like the way he was walking up and down the sideline.

“I tried to tell them that I’m the head coach,” he said, “But that didn’t seem to matter.”

The Grizzlies play next on Wednesday at home against Charlotte. Follow @douggillon, @cerrito, @chasingphoto amd @bharris901 for live tweets during the games.

All photos by Chase Gustafson.

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