The Memphis Grizzlies are starting to hit their stride as they are now 8-1 since the return of center Marc Gasol. Prior to Gasol’s injury the team was struggling to reach a .500 record on the season, but after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, the Grizzlies are 25-20 and are in the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Against the Timberwolves Gasol had a lackluster night going for just nine points and six rebounds, but his 40 minutes played was a nice change from Kosta Koufos, who was his replacement when injured, but never entered the game on Friday night. Gasol’s presence was felt on the defensive side of the ball, however, as the Timberwolves’ centers combined for just seven points all night, and the team in general struggled to score in the paint.
The Grizzlies as a whole did a nice job on the defensive side of the floor, as they held the league’s second-best scoring offense to just 90 points. The Timberwolves usually score over 100 points per game, yet the interior defense of the Grizzlies — led by Gasol — was able to limit just two Timberwolves starters to double-figures in the point column.
The hot streak the Grizzlies are currently on is nothing to sneeze at as they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Gasol’s return two weeks ago, and then beat the Houston Rockets in back-to-back nights right before taking down the Portland Trailblazers.
Those four big wins are likely just a sample of what’s to come as the Grizzlies are nearing full health and entering a favorable stretch in their schedule. Aside from their game next Monday in Oklahoma City, the Grizzlies will play seven straight games against teams either hovering at or below .500.
They, of course, must earn those victories by coming out and playing hard every night, but now that they are rolling with the reigning defensive player of the year back on the court, the Grizzlies are a team to watch out for as they are rapidly climbing the Western Conference standings.