Supporting Casts (GRIZZLIES 85, Wolves 80)

RANT-STYLE GAME WRAP

Zach Randolph’s supporting cast outplayed Kevin Love’s supporting cast at Memphis, tonight, winning by 5 after a meaningless Beasley three beat the buzzer.  The game was never close, yet never a blowout.  It was the worst kind of hoops watching where the action is ugly and disjointed, but the game always in enough doubt to keep you there in front of the tv.

Memphis won the first quarter by 5, the second by 5, and the third by 2.  The margin didn’t fall to single digits until a J.J. Barea free throw was made with 2:34 to go.  The offense was horrible (Wolves shot 39.2 percent from the floor, 21.1 percent from three) with a combination of missed shots and turnovers leading to Memphis transition buckets.  Jim Peterson must have been looking at the box score when he called Rudy Gay “the best player on the floor, tonight.”  Gay wasn’t good at all in this game aside from converting a handful of breakaway dunks often initiated by his teammates.  In the half court (with Beasley on him for much of the game, believe it or not) he chucked and chucked from the perimeter, missing each time.  On the Wolves end, Ridnour, Rubio and Barea took turns dribbling around trying to find somebody.  But nobody was there.  The dribbling continued with these three and others and Memphis was happy to pounce on anything in traffic.  The Grizz have established an identity as a defensive team and they showed off why on this night.  Conley even ripped a behind-the-back Rubio dribble and took it the other way for an easy assist to Gasol.

Nothing went right in this game, and I’m not sure what else to say about it.  Derrick Williams started the game well, but his overwhelming tendency to catch a pass with his weight forward (ready to dribble, nowhere NEAR ready to shoot) is easily scouted.  The success he enjoyed off the dribble in the early part of this game was not there in the second half.  He finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds, most of which came in the 1st Quarter.  Michael Beasley’s stat line looks a little bit better than it should.  He hit the aforementioned three with no defense or meaning at the horn, and also converted a short basket when the game was no longer in doubt.  Still, his 6 for 11 shooting should help rehabilitate his season shooting numbers, which desperately need it.

The good news for the Wolves is that Kevin Love returns on Friday Night, when the Mavs come to town.  Let’s hope he and Rubio (who had only 1 assist in this game–I probably should have mentioned that) can get this thing back on track.  The energy was lacking from the starters tonight, and the scrappy Grizz made them pay.

Season Record: 13-13

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