Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins acknowledged his anxiety.
His point guard, Mike Conley, knew there was no way the Grizzlies' new additions could remember all they'd been given in three hours.
Veteran forward Tayshaun Prince figured he'd just play and let the game come to him.
The post-Rudy Gay era for the Grizzlies officially began Friday night and they — newcomers and all — simply did what the franchise seems to be best at, and that's adjust. The result was an 85-76 victory over the Washington Wizards before a crowd of 15,017 in FedExForum.
"We had more players, but you never know how it's going to work out in a first game," Hollins said, adding: "I told the new guys, 'This is who we are. We're not pretty. We defend you to death and try to grind out points.' "
Hollins couldn't have summed up the Grizzlies' 30th victory of the season any better.
After giving up 30 points to the Wizards in the opening quarter, the Grizzlies' defense got stingy. Memphis' defense kept the game close on a night when the Griz searched desperately for scoring until winning time.
Clinging to a 74-70 lead with about six minutes left to play, the Griz used an 8-2 run to sew a comfortable cushion.
Prince closed the spurt with back-to-back, midrange jump shots that allowed the Griz to take an 82-72 advantage with 1:11 to play. Conley's 18 points led the Griz, who got efficient and timely offense from Prince. The veteran scored eight of his 14 points after coming off the bench in that fourth quarter.
Griz offense sputters, but newcomers pitch in for win over Wizards
Memphis Commercial Appeal | Feb 2