Struggling Grizzlies snap five game losing streak with narrow win against the Hawks
It was Star Wars Night at FedEx Forum, and The Force was with us.
It’s hard to feel good about a two point win against the team with the worst record in the league, but such is life for the Grizzlies this season.
But a win is a win, no matter how small, and overcoming a double-digit deficit and narrowly defeating a bad team is certainly better than blowing a double-digit lead against a better team.
Which has been somewhat of an ongoing theme for the Grizzlies during this latest stretch of losses.
From the start, it looked like the odds were not with the Grizzlies.
They opened the game with a dismal 17 point 1st quarter, and carelessness on the Grizzlies part allowed for the Hawks to score 14 of their 21 first quarter points either from the free throw line (7-8) or off the Grizzlies 8 turnovers.
During the 2nd quarter, the home team was a bit less lethargic.
Tyreke Evans was the unquestioned star of the game for the Grizzlies, and never was it more obvious than his performance during the second quarter. Evans shot 3 of 3 from beyond the arc, accounting for 9 of his 11 first half points.
At halftime the Hawks were up 47-40, and Marc Gasol had yet to score a single point.
I’m not suggesting that these two things are related, but it’s certainly not ideal for the Grizzlies.
To his credit, Marc Gasol made his presence felt in the 3rd quarter, shooting 2 of 2 from beyond the arc and 5 of 5 from the free throw line.
In the 4th quarter, the combined offensive efforts of Tyreke Evans and Mario Chalmers kept the Grizzlies in the game scoring wise.
But it was the defensive effort of Andrew Harrison during the final seconds of the game that allowed the Grizzlies to come away with their first win in six games, and their first win all season against an Eastern Conference team.
Let me say that again, because it absolutely bears repeating: Andrew Harrison’s defensive hustle saved the Grizzlies from near defeat.
Both Chalmers and Harrison have struggled this season, which makes their contributions against the Hawks all the more noteworthy. This game felt very redemptive for them individually, as much as it did for the team as a whole.
Final score: Grizzlies – 94, Hawks – 92
A quick breakdown by the numbers:
Hawks outscored the Grizzlies in the paint 36 to 32, and 14 to 12 from the free throw line.
Tyreke Evans finished with a game high 22 points, including 4 of 5 three point shooting.
Super Mario Chalmers had 16 points and a game high 4 steals.
As mentioned above, Marc Gasol scored 13 points, all in the 3rd quarter, shooting 2 of 2 from beyond the arc and 5 of 5 from the free throw line.
Andrew Harrison finished with 10 points, with 3 of 3 three point shooting.
Who got next:
The Grizzlies will be back in action again tonight on their home court, but this time instead of the worst, they will be hosting the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics.
Can the Grizzlies somehow manage to scrap their way to a second consecutive win against one of the best teams in the league?
Conventional wisdom would deem it unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Show up, or tune in tonight to find out.
What: Grizzlies vs Celtics
Where: FedEx Forum, Beale Street, Memphis
When: 8 PM CST
Broadcast: Fox Sports Southeast, 92.9 FM WMFS