Game 62: Grizzlies at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs' biggest problem on the night was lack of defense. They just couldn't get the defensive stops needed with the game on the line. The Grizzlies shot 52.3 percent from the field.
They are not a strong offensive team, but you'd never know it on Friday.
Center Marc Gasol took shot after shot from the perimeter with his defensive player standing in the middle of the lane watching him shoot. He made 11 of 16 from the field and was quite good. All but a couple of his points came on set shots from about 20 feet.
There was a lot of rhetoric earlier in the day about whether Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving was going to play. He sucked it up and played, and played quite well. He scored 24 points.
He was listed as doubtful earlier in the day.
Irving complained about soreness in his knee after Wednesday's game. After talking to Cavs athletic trainer Max Benton, Coach Byron Scott said Irving's knee is not a concern. We'll leave it at that for now.
I commend Cavs shooting guard Dion Waiters for playing. However, he probably should have sat out his third consecutive game. He was dragging, as evidenced by his three points and 0 of 4 shooting.
The Grizzlies have now won 11 of their last 12 games.
It all starts on the defensive end for the Grizzlies, who are first in the NBA in points allowed. They allow just 89.4 points per game. They held the Cavs to 45.8 percent shooting.
That's where the Cavs hope to eventually get. They are ranked 23rd in the league by allowing 101.1 points per game. It's a night-and-day difference. The Grizzlies have two outstanding perimeter defenders in Tayshaun Prince and Tony Allen.
The Cavs have lost their last four games against Memphis. However, they had a seven-game winning streak at The Q vs. Memphis snapped.
The Grizzlies nipped the Cavs on Nov. 26 at FedExForum, 84-78. Randolph had 19 points and eight rebounds in the game. The Cavs were leading by seven points after three quarters. However, they were outscored, 22-9, in the fourth.
The Cavs acquired center Marreese Speights and guard Wayne Ellington from Memphis on Jan. 22 in exchange for forward Jon Leuer. The Cavs are 11-8 since the deal.
Speights finished with nine points and one rebound. Ellington added seven points and five rebounds. Speights had a right elbow laceration.
NEWS FEED: Ron Tillery's story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal about the Grizzlies' comebacks this season.
LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated the Utah Jazz on Wednesday at The Q, 104-101.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Tayshaun Prince (6-9, 215)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Ed Davis (6-10, 225)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Marc Gasol (7-1, 265)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Tony Allen (6-4, 213)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Mike Conley (6-1, 185)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao
Grizzlies - none
Rodney Mott, Eric Lewis, Olandis Poole