The Memphis Grizzlies have gotten back to playing much like we are used to seeing them. They started the 2013-14 NBA season, their first under head coach Dave Joerger, experimenting with playing at a bit faster pace and trying to speed up the tempo from their normal slow and methodically grinding pace. That didn’t work out so well for this team.
However, the Grizzlies have gotten back to their normal pace and their grit-and-grind mentality. On Monday, they showed why that style of play can be so devastating, even with Marc Gasol out with injury. Taking on the Orlando Magic, the Grizzlies’ bruising and tough style of play proved to be the huge difference in the game.
Memphis eventually wound up with a ho-hum 94-85 victory over a young Orlando team, but they really, more or less, gave the Magic a lesson in grinding and toughness at this level. The Grizzlies went out and played physical defense that upset the Magic’s young offense. Moreover, Memphis was big on the boards, out-rebounding the Magic 52-35 and limiting the Magic to only an incredibly three offensive rebounds for the night.
Though the Magic are far from a measuring stick in the NBA right now, watching the Grizzlies play this style of basketball where they win with their defensive effort and effort on the glass is promising. They obviously aren’t going to reach their potential with Gasol out, but their style of play is key. Identity is one of the most elusive things for teams to find in this league. Though Memphis may not be the most talented team in the league, their ability to play within their identity is nearly unmatched in the league, which is something they have to continue using in their favor.