With the arrival of new players and the departure of familiar faces, the Memphis Grizzlies are a team in transition. That means fresh attention to blending and bonding on and off the court.
Three new players suited up on Friday and were ready to compete as Memphis faced the Washington Wizards (11-34). Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis and Austin Daye all clocked minutes as the Grizzlies defeated Washington 85 to 76.
Prince and Day were acquired from the Detroit Pistons and Davis from the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. The deal put Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi in Raptors' uniforms.
"Seeing all these trades over the years and never being a part of that and all of a sudden you are a part of that, you know that is definitely different," Prince said. "The guys made it easy for me. The staff made it easy for me, and definitely, the fans made it easy for me."
The Grizzlies outrebounded the Wizards 46 to 31. Memphis went on a 7-2 run to create a six-point advantage (74-68). Prince didn't waste any time, jumping right in with little time to prepare offensively. He made back-to-back jumpers to give the Grizzlies a 10-point lead with 1:11 minutes left in the fourth.
"He's a veteran," said Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins of Prince. "When you've been around, there's not any new plays. There are new calls to plays. Once you recognize what the sets are, then you learn the calls and can be in the right spot. He's a high-IQ player."
Prince scored 14 points and had three assists off the bench. Grizzlies center Marc Gasol recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 13 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. Mike Conley led all scorers with 18 points.
Nene Hilario led the Wizards with 14 points and John Wall scored nine. Wall left the second quarter with a strained left shoulder and his return was questionable.
"I was scared," Wall said. "I can't catch a break was all I was thinking. I went back out there and played. I could still feel the pain, but I just tried to play through it and help my team out as much as possible."
"They are still a good team," said Nene. "I said to Zach (Randolph) that they are still a good team. They have the base with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen. They are still good. With Tayshaun Prince, they are going to add a lot of experience to this team."
Said Hollins, "We won...I'm happy."
NOTE: The Grizzlies will face the Phoenix Suns at FedExForum on Tuesday (Feb. 5).