These are not Lionel Hollins Grizzlies. Sure, they still attempt the fewest three-point shots in the league (just over 15 per game) and make the second fewest (just under 5 per game). They still have the bruising-est frontcourt in the league, although Marc Gasol is out for awhile with a sprained MCL. Last year, Hollins’ Grizzlies finished first in points allowed last year, giving up just 89.3 a contest. And while they still allow the seventh-fewest points in the league, at just over 97 a game, that’s an eight point difference and more than a little significant for a Memphis club — now David Joerger’s — that puts up roughly the same 93 or 94 points a night as Lionel Hollins’.
I mention all this because the Wolves’ losing streak to the Grizz was eleven games before Sunday night’s 101-93 win in Memphis and there is no way the Wolves ever mustered 101 points against a Grizzlies team with Gasol and Lionel Hollins. (Which makes it especially confounding that Kevin Martin shot 0-3 in 19 minutes — the Wolves won without their starting shooting guard.) The Grizz played without Mike Conley for much of the end of the game. Conley left with an ankle injury and still led the Grizzlies with 28 points, plus five rebounds and three assists on 12-20 shooting, including 4-8 from three.
Kevin Love shot it ridiculously well: 11-21 from the field, 4-8 from three, 4-4 from the line for 30 points to go with 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.
Nikola Pekovic played big, made free throws down the stretch, finishing 7-8 from the line, 6-12 from the field for 19 points.
Corey Brewer tied his career high, with 12 rebounds.
Zach Randolph had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, but shot just 7-19 from the field.
The Wolves won on the road with J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved contributing positively, both a positive 8 in their 23 and 13 minute stints. J.J.’s 15 points were especially helpful on a night when Martin struggled.
Coach Rick Adelman mentioned to reporters in his postgame comments he didn’t think Martin was moving well, and with one eye on tomorrow night’s game in Boston, he decided not to push him. Something to keep an eye on.
The Wolves play in Boston Monday night at 6:30 CST.
Also, the Hold Steady took an iffy turn for me when they got keys-heavy, sure it worked on Separation Sunday, but whatever — Subpoenaed in Texas, Sequestered in Memphis is a great couplet. Love it.