Grizzlies Pull Away from Cavaliers
Wrap-Up – After logging four games in five nights without three of their key players, the Cavaliers just didn’t have enough in the tank to close out a tough Grizzlies squad, which overcame an 11-point deficit to pull away for the 110-96 win on Saturday night in Memphis.
One night after notching his first career triple-double, Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 28 points on Saturday – going 11-for-19 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the stripe (his first miss from the line in five games). The All-Star guard added three assists and three of Cleveland’s five steals. Tristan Thompson added 18 points and eight boards and Spencer Hawes chipped in with 13 points. Luol Deng rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 11 points.The Cavaliers scored 65 points and shot 62 percent in the first half of Saturday’s contest, but totaled just 31 points on 35 percent shooting after intermission. Memphis’ Zach Randolph scored 13 of his 23 points in the third quarter, leading both teams with 14 boards and four steals.
Turning Point – There were a pair of turning points in Saturday’s loss. The first was the first half of the third quarter, as the Grizzlies came out of the halftime locker room in a bad mood. After Luol Deng’s jumper put Cleveland up 13 – 67-54 – Memphis went on a 19-6 run to tie the game at 73-apiece. They’d run their lead to seven by the end of the third quarter. The second turning point came in the final four minutes of the ballgame. The final score will say Memphis handled the Cavs, but Cleveland was within a point on Kyrie Irving’s made free throws with 4:03 to play. But Randolph canned a fadeway jumper and Mike Conley drilled a trey to put Memphis up six – icing the Grizzlies win.
Game Ball – Tristan Thompson – Thompson had to work for everything on both ends in Saturday’s matchup. He wasn’t able to notch his 30th double-double of the season, but the third-year blue collar forward did go 8-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 from the stripe.
By the Numbers – .579 … winning percentage of teams the Cavaliers will face in 15 games of March.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on Zach Randolph's big second half on Saturday …
”In the first half we were the ones who were more physical. We were the ones that were hitting first. Then in the second half (Randolph) came out and he said, ‘You know what? I’m going to get the ball whether it’s in a post-up situation or off the glass. I’m going to get it, and I’m going to do what I do.’ He did it time after time after time, so you have to give him credit.”
Up Next – The aforementioned gauntlet that is the month of March began on Saturday night and, after a much-needed two-day respite, rolls on this Tuesday night when the Wine and Gold welcome the Spurs to The Q. The Cavs travel to Charlotte for a Friday night battle with the Bobcats and return home for a Saturday meeting with the Knicks at The Q, as the Cavaliers celebrate Zydrunas Ilgauskas jersey retirement. That’s the final home game for a while, with Cleveland closing out the Western Conference portion of the schedule with games against Phoenix, Golden State and the Clippers.