by Kelley D. Evans
With nine minutes and 12 seconds remaining on the clock in the first quarter, Grizz forward Quincy Pondexter stepped onto the FedExForum court ready to play Monday night. His presence was conspicuous in light of his shortened playing time since his return to eligibility following a season-ending injury last year.
Pondexter knows that the Grizz bottom line is measured in wins and losses. The Grizzlies won in a 119-93 romp of Houston (9-2) and Pondexter was a key cog in a second-unit effort that featured his 13 points and matching totals by Beno Udrih and Jon Leuer.
“It’s not about going out there, scoring and getting the most minutes,” Pondexter said. “If you have to sacrifice and get a DNP (did not play – coaches decision), you’ve got to do it. Our team just cares about winning, we don’t pay attention to the rest of that stuff. It was a total-team effort. Everyone came out and competed really hard and we got it done.”
Pondexter’s season-high scoring performance came on 5-of-10 shooting from the field. He came out with energy and helped the Grizzlies capitalize off attacking the basket early on to keep Houston at bay.
“It was good to see Quincy (Pondexter) get going,” said Grizz head coach Dave Joerger. “The idea was for him to just have some time. The last two games it was the plan to play with Tayshaun (Prince) a bit and get going with him. Then let Q (Quincy Pondexter) guard some little guys and get going.
“We need what he brings because he has a good shot and can guard the ball pretty well, especially against the guys that are good one-on-one players.”
In the league-rattling victory over the Rockets, Pondexter was one of Memphis seven double-digit scorers, along with Randolph, Courtney Lee, Mike Conley, Kosta Koufos, Udrih and Leuer. It was the first time the team has had seven scorers in double figures since Dec. 3, 2013 against the Phoenix Suns.
Prior to the highly anticipated confrontation with the Rockets, the two teams sported the best records (9-1)in the NBA, Houston unbeaten on the road. With the strong performance by Pondexter and his bench mates contributing mightily to the outcome, Memphis notched its 20th straight victory at the FedExForum. It also was the 11th straight home-court win when playing an opponent that had played the previous night.
The Grizzlies forced the Rockets to 21 turnovers giving Memphis 31 points total from those takeaways. Pondexter was part of seven Grizz players that scored in double digits (Pondexter, Zach Randolph, Courtney Lee, Mike Conley, Kosta Koufos, Udrih and Leuer) marking the first time the team has had seven in double figures since Dec. 3, 2014 against the Phoenix Suns.
Joerger conjured a winning formula that called for Memphis to attack early.
“They just beat the heck out of us,” said Rockets head coach Kevin McHale. “We turned it over early. They beat us to the ball. They turned us over and got easy baskets off of turnovers. They were on top of us and we had a lot of guys struggle with how fast they were on top of you offensively.”
NEXT: The Grizzlies faced the Raptors (8-2) at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night. On Friday (Nov. 21), the Boston Celtics visit the FedExForum.
(Follow Kelley D. Evans on Twitter @KelleySthrnGrl.)
- Written by By Kelley D. Evans
- Category: Original