Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Road Recap: Grizzlies 105, Pistons 91 — The Real Return of Quincy Pondexter

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Quincy Pondexter made a promising return last night in Detroit.

After a sleepy first quarter in the which the Grizzlies turned the ball over seven times and allowed 30 points to the Detroit Pistons, the team revved up its defensive intensity significantly, overwhelming the Pistons in the heart of the game with a 62-30 run in the second and third quarters.

Fourteen steals and seven blocks helping foster 24 fastbreak points was vintage Grizzlies basketball. Twenty-nine assists on 45 made field goals and balanced shooting (10 players with between five and 11 field-goal attempts) is new-look Grizzlies basketball. Put opportunistic defense and sharp, share-the-ball offense together and you get a blowout road win. (Extended garbage time made the final score look more reasonable.)

The best takeaways from the win, though, were the performances of Quincy Pondexter and Ed Davis. Pondexter got a few minutes in the penultimate game before the break, but didn't look good. With a little more rehab/recovery time, Pondexter came back last night in true game shape. He knocked down a corner three, notched three steals, and was probably as effective on both ends as any Grizzlies player on the way to 10 points on 4-6 shooting in 22 minutes. Pondexter is both a better corner-three threat and a more physical, aggressive defender than either Tayshaun Prince or Austin Daye. His return will be very helpful for the Grizzlies and if he plays well, I think he could become a frequent fixture in closing lineups.

As for Davis, he got his longest run since joining the team — something abetted by the blowout — and was very productive, with 14 points on 6-7 shooting, four rebounds, and four blocks in 21 minutes. Davis showed his stronger-than-he-looks physicality with the blocks and power dunks and hit two of three on short jumpers that are more effective than fluid. He brings a different dimension to the team's frontcourt rotation and hopefully this performance can help ease him into a larger role.

The Grizzlies follow up tonight with a much-anticipated game in Toronto against former teammate Rudy Gay. Sam Amick of USA Today has a good long read today previewing the game and looking back on the deal. Gay comments about when and if he asked for or was amenable to a trade are a little confusing, unsurprisingly considering there's often more than a little Rashomon to such things.

My sense: It's sort of irrelevant whether Gay “asked” for a trade since a trade was going to happen — now or later — regardless. But my best understanding of the situation was that he was very amenable to being dealt, even if public comments have been a little mixed on that subject.

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