Memphis Grizzlies Building On Recent Success

Jan 28, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA;  Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) is congratulated by guard Mike Conley (11) in the fourth quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Utah Jazz 102-95. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies have won six of their last eight and are using the success to build toward future wins. Key players are making an impact and the bench is starting to sync.

Even though the San Antonio Spurs didn’t have their All-Star point guard, the Memphis Grizzlies still picked up a key win against the second-place Spurs on Wednesday and it may have set the tone for future games.

The win against the Spurs is the Grizzlies; sixth in their last eight games. It moves them to 32-22 on the season and only two games out of fourth in the Western Conference.

They’ve had the hot hand as of lately and have had it against top opponents. In fact, they’re 8-2 against the top four teams in the Western Conference. Aside from some a few bad losses, this Memphis team is becoming stronger and the foundation of their rotation is almost in rhythm.

They got a key addition back with Brandan Wright. Wright, who is returning from ankle surgery, has made a statement on the court and off the court on why he will succeed with this team.

He has added much needed rim protection in the front court in his four games back and knows he can work well with the guards. When speaking with Grind City Media, he made it clear:

“Just throw it up – I’m going to make you look good….It’s going to either be a foul or a bucket. Having a guy you can throw it above the rim to is always good.”

Along with Wright finding success in limited minutes and staying healthy, the Grizzlies have also been getting the return they need out of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

Conley, who has once again been snubbed in his All-Star quest, has been putting up the obvious all-star numbers.

In their last six wins, Conley has averaged 20.3 points, 6.5 assists and 45.5 percent from the field. He had a season-high 39 points last week against Phoenix while dishing out nine assist.

Besides putting up points, Conley has found success in the assist game and dishing out passes rather than pushing the pace and trying to create isolation situations. In fact, The Grizzlies are 10-5 when Conley has eight or more assists per game.

Along with Conley, Gasol and Randolph have been their normal selves.

Gasol, in the last eight games, has had ridiculous numberd that prove why he earned his spot in New Orleans. Gasol has averaged 25.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and is shooting 54.5 percent from the field.

He has shot 56.0 percent from the three-point line in their last six wins.

Randolph, is finding similar success when shooting as well. In these last eight games, He is shooting 52.8 percent from the field while averaging 16.6 points in those last eight games.

Of course, basketball is a team sport and not an all-star sport, and as was mentioned earlier, the rotation is becoming more concrete.

Vince Carter has proved that age is just a number and that you can still ball with the best of them at the age of 40. Carter has been very beneficial this season, especially with Chandler Parsons‘ health being essentially game-to-game.

In 47 games, Carter has managed to put up 8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and some wickedly awesome plays.

Along with Carter, JaMychal Green has added to a powerhouse frontcourt that is only getting stronger with Wright returning. With such a stacked frontcourt, it’s inevitable that Conley and Tony Allen should seek the pick and roll often as they have been.

Conley, as mentioned, has been looking for the pass more often lately and he’s taken notice that he can’t always play the hero. He’s using what is an like a sort of off-and-on switch, adjusting it on nights when he needs to be the scorer and when he needs to be the facilitator.

Being a facilitator is key for the second half of the season for two reasons. The first is the frontcourt he has. The pick and roll will play a special role throughout the rest of the season and he needs to continue to look for it.

Second is Gasol, who has proven that he is overlooked as one of the best big men in the game. He is arguably the best-shooting center in the NBA and when he’s on the receiving end of Conley’s good graces, the Grizzlies come out on top.

With the All-Star break coming next week, any team wants to finish the first half on a good note. Memphis has beatrn every team in the Western Conference and they’re going to need to continue that success after the break.

They have proven they can outplay the best of the West and they’re going to have to prove it more than once down the stretch.

If indeed this rotation is getting set in stone and the team stays healthy, the Grizzlies are destined for a top-four conference finish and a deep run in the postseason.

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