By Dave Johnson
There was Memphis Grizzlies’ head coach Lionel Hollins on the big screen at Fed Ex Forum discussing his team’s play in a post-game press conference. Hollins made it clear the game went according to the Grizzlies style of play in an 85-76 win over the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards are now saddled with a three-game losing streak as they prepare to play the Spurs tonight in San Antonio. The challenge will be for the Wizards to return to the style of basketball that triggered a run of seven wins in ten games.
Coverage of the Wizards and Spurs begins at 8:15 on the Washington Wizards Radio Network,
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
The Wizards scored 30 points in the first quarter, but then only 46 points over the final three quarters. In the first quarter the Wizards had six steals and an 11-2 advantage in fast-break points. The pace was just what the Wizards wanted, but then the game stalled into the Grizzlies way. The Wizards had only two fast-break points the rest of the way.
Memphis Grizzlies' head coach Lionel Hollins:
“As I told all of the new guys: ‘This is who we are. We’re not pretty. We try to defend you to death and grind out points wherever we can.”
The new guys for the Grizzlies are Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, and Ed Davis. They played their first game since the three-team six-player trade that sent Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors. Prince was one of five Grizzlies in double figures with 14 points. Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 18 points.
The Wizards had 16 turnovers, but the bigger concern was shot selection. The Wizards were 5 of 20 from three-point distance and only attempted three free throws the whole game. The Grizzlies packed in on defense and challenged the Wizards to beat them from the perimeter. Nene was the only Wizards’ player to reach double figures with 14 points.
After the Wizards’ thirty-point first quarter, they scored only ten points in the second quarter. The Grizzlies were not much better with only 16 points, but it was when it became clear the game was slipping from the Wizards’ grasp. In the second quarter the Wizards were 0 for 6 beyond the arc.
Randy Wittman on 2nd quarter:
“I think we missed 13-straight shots, which were all perimeter shots. We stopped throwing the ball to the side and you have to know the feel of the game. If things aren’t going a certain way, you have to then combat that. I thought we went away from playing inside-out and just took perimeter shots. That hurt us.”
John Wall started, but played only 23 minutes after receiving a scare on a drive to the basket in the second quarter. In a collision with Zach Randolph, Wall suffered a strained left shoulder. He did return to start the second half and finished the game with 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
“I was scared. ‘I can’t catch a break’ was all I was thinking. I went back out there and played. I could still feel the pain, but I just tried to play through it and help my team out as much as possible. I just hoped it wasn’t anything serious so that I could keep playing for the rest of the season.”
Final word from Nene:
“I think we need to play more smart and hard. Sometimes we need to take it more personal and say ‘I am going to beat my man and guard him’. You need to have that kind of pride. You can’t cheat. You can’t fail.”