Tony Allen was on full display during last night’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Grizzlies guard showed the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright amazing in his first start and propelled the Grizz to a 110-105 win.
“I get my energy off the defensive end and hopefully the offensive end will come,” Allen said. “And that’s what happened tonight.”
With guards Xavier Henry and O.J. Mayo ailing, Allen made his first start as a Grizzly, and put on a show for the 12,000+ fans at FedExForum. Like the Grizzlies’ season, the show was an unpredictable as it was exciting.
One minute Allen would get a clean steal from Kevin Durant. The next he would miss an uncontested layup on the other end.
Later in the game Allen would miss another layup, then come back on the ensuing possession and sink his second three-pointer of the season. Then he sank his third.
All told Allen finished with 19 points – a season high.
“With those layups I told him he could’ve had 30,” Zach Randolph said.
Randolph’s contribution to the win was as huge as it was expected. Zbo scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as he continues what coach Lionel Hollins consistently calls “Yeoman’s work.”
The win gives the Grizzlies their second in a row against probable playoff teams, and, like last January, could mark a positive turning point in the season.
“You could say that, but that’s the key word, could,” coach Hollins said. “Whether it is [a turning point] or not we’ll see as we get down the road.”
Rudy vs. Durant
Rudy Gay put on a show for his twitter and team USA buddy Kevin Durant, Gay put in 27 points on 12-18 shooting. Gay put up 16 of those points in the first half by making some sweet love to the net with beautiful jumpers. Durant outdid Rudy by 1, finishing with 28 (his average), but it was Rudy who left with the win.
Tony Allen’s Game
As said before, for a lot of the brilliance Tony Allen showed in this game, there was at least 5 moments of ugly. All of them were missed layups. A few of Allen’s “missed layup faces” are above, courtesy of Memphisport photog JD Meredith.
Allen joked about the layups after the game, first saying it was something he would try to improve before getting asked. Later, when asked why he didn’t just dunk, Allen started to give an explanation but stopped.
“Right now I’m goin through a process… you know what, I gotta start dunkin’. I ain’t gonna make no excuses.”
Allen didn’t seem to have a problem jumping on his two blocks, so for now we’ll take his word for it when he says he’s going to improve his ability to finish.
Dunk of the Game
Rudy Gay electrified the Grizz on their winning run with a two handed jam with about 2 min remaining. Gay drove through the entire OKC defense to get the ball in and put the Grizz up 101-97.
Sports 56’s Chris Hrabe did a great job of describing the feeling from these last few games against OKC with this tweet.
Forum rocking. End of the Grizz-Thunder game has a real feel of a rivialry to it. Hope that’s the case. Gotta finish strong now.
James Harden, who was picked two spots after Hasheem Thabeet, played 23 minutes and scored 17 points. Thabeet was all goose eggs again. The Grizzlies wore royal blue “FIT” warmups to coincide with the NBA’s fitness promotion. Grievis Vasquez scored no points and picked up five fouls in limited action, but was praised by coach Hollins for giving the Grizz “another option at the two” as he was played over Sam Young at that spot for most of the third quarter. The Grizzlies have recalled DeMarre Carroll from the D-league Dakota Wizards.
Update: The Grizzlies claimed O.J. Mayo missed last night’s game because of “bronchitis.” This report says differently. Says he has a swollen eye after an mid-flight fight with Tony Allen concerning a gambling debt… woah.
The Grizzlies next play Utah at FedExForum on Friday, January 7.
All photos by JD Meredith for Memphisport.