The Grizzlies began the 2017-18 regular season with a victory, as they defeated they New Orleans Pelicans 103-91 Wednesday night in front of a sold-out crowd at FedExForum.
Coming off of a sizable 41-point victory against the Pelicans in their last game of the preseason, the Grizzlies looked to repeat in the home opener. Pelicans center Anthony Davis and center DeMarcus Cousins had other ideas, scoring a combined 23 of the teams 34 points in the first quarter. The Pelicans shot their best of the night from three-point range in the quarter, making six of an attempted nine. They would only make 1-of-16 from long range the remainder of the night.
The second quarter started with a put-back dunk by Dillon Brooks and the Grizzlies began their 14-2 run in the first six minutes of the second quarter, which included a 9-0 run in the first 2:49. Although the Pelicans scored 34 points in the first quarter, they scored 36 combined in the second and third quarters.
The Grizzlies key to victory was the bench, who outscored the Pelicans bench by a margin of 53-8. Five Grizzlies ended the night in double digits. Mike Conley led the way with 27 points, followed by Dillon Brooks, who scored the most points by a Grizzlies player in his rookie debut since Rudy Gay scored 21 on November 1, 2006. Brooks also added five rebounds, a game-high four steals, two assists and two blocks. Gasol claimed a double-double on the night, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 boards. Tyreke Evans added 11 points and Brandan Wright scored 10.
Listed pregame as questionable due to illness, Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 33 points. DeMarcus Cousins added 28. They were the only two players on the roster to score in double digits in the loss.
The Grizzlies next host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, October 21 at FedExForum. Tune in to FOX Sports Southeast presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN for all the action.
Key Stat of the Night
- The Grizzlies bench outscored the Pelicans bench by a margin of 53-8. Three Grizzlies reserves reached double-digit scoring, led by rookie Dillon Brooks’ 19 points.
Key Runs of the Night
- Trailing 34-27 at the end of the first quarter, the Grizzlies opened the quarter on a 14-2 run in the first 6:00 of the second quarter, including a 9-0 run in the first 2:49.
- After falling behind 60-59 with 7:21 remaining in the third quarter, Memphis went on an 8-0 run over the next 2:26 to retake a seven-point lead.
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On losing JaMychal Green early
Next man up. I thought Jarell (Martin) handled it very well, he had a great preseason. I had total confidence in getting him in there. Other guys just had to step up around him. We had Marc (Gasol) in foul trouble. Everything wasn’t perfect but our guys kept figuring it out, kept coming up with solutions, and whoever I put in next was always ready to go.
On Chandler Parsons
Honestly, I wouldn’t know. I just know that it’s rust. All of it adds up to rust. He’s in a tough spot because everything he does you can hear the crowd. If he does well its ‘hey’, if he does bad it’s ‘boo’ and it’s not easy to be in that spot. But they’ve got to understand that no one has to be hurt. He’s not a faker, this isn’t a game when it comes to his knee. He’s had some serious stuff there. Anybody that’s had those kind of injuries can tell you it’s not like you’re going to just jump out there and everything is going to be great. But he helped us win tonight and that’s what I’m more concerned with, is that he got out there and contributed and just played within himself and helped our team. He’s another guy I’m happy to see running around on the court.
On Dillon Brooks
He doesn’t make many mistakes, and that’s really good. He’s not afraid to shoot it and has a great instinct for the game. On both ends of the floor, he uses his body defensively. Really good.
On the crowd booing Chandler Parsons
I’m not happy with that at all. It’s our players. We’ve got to support our players. Every single one of us. I don’t think people understand. I know we are professional basketball players and all, but the support, and what that means to us when we’re out there… because, he’s one of us. Booing Chandler is just like booing Mike (Conley) or booing myself. We are one team. I don’t know what’s going through people’s minds, but we need to support him. And trust me, he’s going to play a lot better if you support him. If you boo him, it’s not going to help the situation much. It’s the first game, so I think it’s always better when the crowd supports you and it just gives you a better feeling of course.
On any nerves behind playing his first game in the NBA
On the post fade away, I was a little scared. I was like, ‘I’ve got to make this shot or Coach Fiz is taking me out.’ But it just felt natural and I just took what the defense gave me, and my teammates just kept giving me the ball.
On having a large impact on the game
I try to give an impact in the game on the defensive end or on the offensive end. I just try to find a way to impact the game. That’s what Coach always tells me, ‘Just find a way to impact the game.’ I felt like I did pretty well on both sides and I was just giving it up for my team.
- Mike Conley led the Grizzlies in scoring with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Conley scored 25-or-more in 17 games last season.
- Marc Gasol (14 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) posted a double-double, leading the Grizzlies in rebounds and tying Mario Chalmers for the team-high in assists.
- Dillon Brooks (19 points, 7-13 FG) scored the most points by a Grizzlies player in his rookie debut since Rudy Gay scored 21 on Nov. 1, 2006. Brooks also added five rebounds, a game-high four steals. two assists, two blocks. Brooks recorded the highest point total ever by a Canadian-born player in his NBA debut.
- Tyreke Evans also made his debut in a Grizzlies uniform, contributing 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.
- Anthony Davis posted game highs of 33 points and 18 rebounds (seven offensive). Davis did most of his work in the second half, recording 21 points and 13 rebounds.
- DeMarcus Cousins added 28 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks after averaging 27.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in four meetings with the Grizzlies last season (three with Sacramento).
- Tony Allen played 11 minutes and pulled down two rebounds in his first game back at FedExForum.