The Memphis Grizzlies Making History

Posted on October 31, 2014

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By: Casey Black

yo-gotti4The Memphis Grizzlies are undefeated for the first time in, well… ever.

If you exclude statistics from the fuzzy Vancouver days, the Grizzlies made history Wednesday night with their first ever victory in a season opener over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Opening night at the FedEx Forum was outfitted with all the bells and whistles for Grizz Nation. Between the bright pink Grizz headband giveaway and a Yo Gotti pregame performance even your grandma got pumped about, the Bluff City was primed and ready to dominate a puny Minnesota team. Turns out, it wasn’t quite the domination Grizz fans had in mind, but we got the wi
n and are looking at a few delightful modifications from the offseason.

While the starting lineup remains virtually unchanged from last season’s fan favorites, a few things look different:

The most exciting change of all- Marc Gasol looks like a new man. He was agile and aggressive and it’s obvious that it’s all thanks to a significant offseason weight loss. Oh, and he dropped a casual career-high 32 points. If he stays healthy, Grizzlies fans should prepare themselves for an MVP performance from Gasol this season, as one of the best centers in the league just got even better.

New, old man Vince Carter may not have shown out in the opener, but everyone knows what he can accomplish. We’re all aware of his ability to shoot the three ball, and he’s a playmaker from the wing that this Grizzlies team hasn’t witnessed since Rudy Gay. Despite his age, Carter can still create his own shot, and he’s an incredibly underrated passer. His defense is a bit lackluster due to his recovering ankle, but you can count on that area of his game improving as the season progresses until he’s 100% again. Not to mention, this is Memphis we’re talking about, and Memphis does defense.

A few of the Grizzlies delivered as we expected them to:

Zach Randolph did what he does best. No undersized forward can hang with him, period. While he may be challenged by the bigger, more elite athletes, smaller opponents just don’t stand a chance against Z-Bo.

Courtney Lee was an x-factor on Wednesday night, doing a great job spreading the floor for the bigs. He clearly earned the starting spot, and if he can stay healthy, we can expect him to continue evolving into a vital piece of the puzzle for the Grizzlies.

Despite the sweet victory, it should be stated that the Grizzlies looked sloppy, and honestly, they barely scraped past a far less talented and experienced team. Minnesota played like a fresh, young team on the road with nothing to lose, and Memphis, at times, left more to be desired. First of all, the bench grossly underperformed with just ten combined points and no one posting a positive plus/minus. The Grizzlies didn’t shoot the three ball well either, averaging just 26.7%. Also, while they showed flashes of brilliance, the Grizzlies’ defense was largely disappointing, giving up 102 points.

All in all, the Grizzlies made history and showed off some impressive offseason improvements to start a season where the whole NBA is watching. There is so much to live up to and still so much to prove. Strap in tight, Grizz Nation- one down, 81 to go.

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