Court Vision: Grizzlies brush off out-manned Sixers
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Grizzlies led by as many as 25 points Saturday and easily beat the visiting Sixers 101-83. Eleven played and 11 scored, including Jeff Green, who contributed a game-high 18 points in his second start for the Grizzlies (31-12).
Before Thursday, Grizzlies center Marc Gasol was efficiently mum when asked about his potential All-Star selection. Thursday, he was named an All-Star starter by the fans. He’s still not talking a lot about the Feb. 15 game.
"It’s something real special, but we’re going to have to wait the celebrations til the All-Star break," said Gasol, a second-time All-Star. "Right now, to me it’s too hard to do that at the same time play and the game. I’d rather play the games and do what I’m supposed to do and win and later on, we’ll celebrate and talk about how great it is."
In 25 minutes against the Sixers (8-36), Gasol scored nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, with seven rebounds.
He is the first Grizzlies All-Star starter and will start opposite brother and Chicago power forward Pau at Madison Square Garden.
The Grizzlies played a video tribute between the first and second quarters, prompting a wave from Gasol, whose stat line as usual was peppered, with four assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Gasol leads the Grizzlies with 19.3 points per game and is currently the only player in the league to total at least 700 points (821), 300 rebounds (353), 150 assists (161) and 50 blocks (73).
His numbers speak much louder than him about his All-Star credentials.
Zach Randolph did not get off to a good start. He played a frustrating four minutes, 24 seconds against Luc Mbah a Moute and missed his only two shots and had only one rebound.
But he finished 8 of 11 for 17 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.
"I don’t think he was real happy with how he started the game tonight," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "He came back and was really engaged and got going in the second quarter."
It is his 14th straight game with 10 or more rebounds, a career-best streak and eighth straight double-double — 13 of the last 14 games with a double-double.
That and he stayed perfect from behind the arc, now 2 for 2 on the year.
"He is a proud guy and knew we were slogging around a little bit," Joerger said. "He took it upon himself to get some stuff around the basket. He didn’t settle and he was pretty forceful with his attacks tonight."
Sixers center Nerlens Noel (seven points, six rebounds) thinks Randolph should join Gasol in New York.
"They’re All-Stars. They know this game," Noel said.
Randolph is averaging a double-double, 16.7 points and 11.9 rebounds.
Brett Brown drew a technical foul. Then it was rescinded by referee Eric Lewis.
Lewis gave an off-handed explanation to the scorers table and had some fun back-and-forth with the fans sitting on the floor.
"I thought he was talking to me," Lewis said. "I heard, ‘Get your head out of your (expletive).’"
Lewis smiled about it and moved on. Brown kept his money in his pocket, because of a few Grizzlies who came to his aid.
"I get so upset with or guys when they don’t recognize that our point guard is being pressured and pressed and both of our guys at the other end of the floor, they’re not in the game," said Brown. "So I let one of them know it and the ref thought I was directing it toward him."
Brown said a trio of Grizzlies, including Vince Carter, got him out of the situation. Brown was happy to avoid the fine — and somehow able to laugh after a seventh loss in 10 games and 36th loss of the year — but not the happiest.
"They were my attorneys for a moment. They got me out of my fine. I appreciate the Memphis guys," Brown said. "Not as happy as my wife. That represented a new sofa."
24: The Grizzlies forced 24 turnovers and scored 17 points off them.
52-32: The Grizzlies outscored the Sixers by 20 in the paint.
"They’re a tough team and we’re a young team. They’re just a better team." – Sixers G Michael Carter-Williams.
"I just have to be ready when my number is called. Whether it’s passing out towels or writing down how many turnovers we got for the team. Whatever I have to do, it is what it is." — Grizzlies G Tony Allen on coming off the bench.