For Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, it's important to set the tone for the upcoming season early.
"There is a purpose to everything that we do and the purpose here is to lay a foundation of our identity, how we're going to do things offensively and how we're going to do things defensively," said Hollins. "So it's important that they (the players) understand that."
Hollins has created a game plan that allows the team to work on that foundation in practice and in games. The plan paid off well when the Memphis Grizzlies, now 2-1, defeated the Atlanta Hawks (1-2) by the score of 110 to 102 on Sunday (Oct. 14) at FedExForum.
"The emphasis was just to work all around," Hollins said. "I told the guys we can't establish who we are if we don't go out and put forth a hundred percent effort."
There were parts of the game that looked like a regular season battle. Most of the starters averaged about 30 minutes. Starting point guard Mike Conley led seven players in double figures with 18 points.
"Coach always says, 'In order to get to places we haven't been, we've got to do stuff we haven't done,'" Conley said.
Zach Randolph posted a double-double from the forward position, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds and scoring 11 in the fourth quarter.
"I wanted to play Zach more in the second half so that we could go to him and get him in a rhythm and go through him a little bit. And he wound up having a huge second half," said Hollins.
Guard Jerryd Bayless came off the bench with 10 points and seven assists.
"I want to continue to go out there and play and do the right things," Bayless said. "Whatever coach asks me to do is what I'm going to do."
The Grizzlies shot 10-of-21 from the three-point line, holding the Hawks to six of 15. That's an improvement over what was a weakness for the Grizzlies in prior seasons.
"I just wanted to play the guys that I felt like were going to be here all season and kind of get them in a rhythm of rotation and a groove of how we're going to be," said Hollins.
Hawks center Al Horford led his team with 13 points off the bench. Guard Jeff Teague logged nine points and eights assists and Zaza Pechulia finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
The Grizzlies were on the road against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night (Oct. 17, the first three consecutive away games as preseason continues.
NOTE: Attendance for Grizz vs Hawks – 10,072.