The Memphis Grizzlies pulled away from the Atlanta Hawks Saturday night at Philips Arena, riding a 24-11 third quarter run for the 79-76 win. Here are three observations from the game: 1. Memphis slowed Atlanta to a Grizzlies-friendly pace In his postgame talk with the media, Memphis coach Dave Joerger gave a reporters a little glimpse into his team's psyche at halftime of a game it trailed by just six points. For a team without its starting backourt, going against an efficient group like the Atlanta Hawks, that may seem like a decent margin on the road. "I think (the players) though when we came in at halftime I was going to get all over them (about our defensive effort)," the first-year head coach said. "But we had a close game in which we were playing much better defense after the first seven minutes of the game. ... I thought we really clamped down." There was a reason Joerger didn't jump down his team's collective throat: they had swung the pace of the game. After a flurry of action and 56 points in the first quarter, the second-quarter scoring split read 14-10. The Grizzlies lost that battle, but they won the war, 79-76. Memphis, the second-most efficient defensive team in the NBA (allowing 97.4 points per 100 possessions), slowed the game down and wound up holding the Hawks to a season low on the scoreboard. "It's a credit to Memphis. They want to play a slow-down game. And against teams like Memphis and Indiana, you have to value possessions. Every night, we value the ball, we value possessions, and 21 turnovers becomes difficult to overcome when the game becomes even slower and you lose out on possessions." Added All-Star forward Paul Millsap: "We're a better offensive team than that ... we just didn't execute down the stretch." That lack of execution led to a last-second attempt to tie the game and send it to overtime, where things got odd for the Hawks. Budenzoler did not call an immediate timeout with 15 seconds remaining down three points, wanting his offense to "probe" for a quick score first. He wasn't even against a quick two-point basket at the time. But when things fell apart and thr quick-strike attempt did not play out, the Hawks coach rushed to midcourt to call a timeout with four seconds remaining. But the game ended on a Lou Williams 3-pointer right after that -- the official never granted Atlanta the timeout, presumably because he could not hear Budenholzer. "I was as loud as humanly possible, but the ref chose to ignore me," Budenholzer said. "It was frustrating. I guess it's loud in there, but that's what unfolded on the court. I wanted an early probe. I wanted a late timeout. I wasn't granted the timeout." 2. The Grizzlies attempted one free throw and made history Before Saturday night's game, an NBA team had never attempted just one free throw and walked away with a win. Memphis became the first. It's an absurd accomplishment, really. At any point during a 48-minute span, a shooting foul could have occurred and ruined the strange record, just as shooting fouls have for decades; throw a group of high school players onto an NBA court and the probabilities of somebody getting fouled and heading to the line for two shots are still ridiculously high. And yet, it happened on Saturday, putting the Grizzlies in a weird record book and making guard Courtney Lee (the lonely free throw participant) an answer on some seriously in-depth sports trivia game.
Defense carries Grizzlies past Atlanta Hawks
Fox Sports | Feb 9