Final Score: Wizards 89 Grizzlies 92 Bradley Beal's career night was spoiled by the Grizzlies. Beal scored a career-high 37 points on 15/24 shooting including 5/7 from three point range but the Wizards fell to the Grizzlies in Memphis, 92-89. The Wizards got the ball down three with about 12 seconds to play and wanted to get the ball to Beal. He was very well covered on the perimeter though and Wall was forced to shoot a deep three at the buzzer and it rimmed out. The Wizards made a big comeback as they trailed by as many as 16 in the second half and briefly held the lead with 5:46 to go after a Nene bucket. The Grizzlies immediately went on a 9-2 run and the Wizards were forced to try to comeback again and came up just short.
This was the first loss for the Wizards in which they allowed under 100 points since January 10th against Indiana. The Wizards played phenomenal fourth quarter defense to get back in the game, holding the Grizzlies to just 13 points. The Wizards also stalled offensively though as Beal's magic ran out as he only had two points in the final 6:50. Before that though he was simply unbelievable, just about singlehandedly getting the Wizards back in the game.
Nene was the other Wizard who stood out in the contest, finishing with 17 points on 7/13 shooting. Together, Beal and Nene had well over half of the Wizards' points. For the Grizzlies, it was Nick Calathes who really shined in replacement of Mike Conley. He had the second best scoring night of his career, going for 18 points on 8/12 shooting and also chipped in seven boards and six assists. The Grizzlies front court duo also helped control the game, combining for 31 points and 17 boards. The Grizzlies in general outrebounded the Wizards 40-33. The Grizzlies other big edge came at the free throw line, as they were 23-27 from the charity stripe compared to 14-20 for the Wizards. - Jacob Raim
Halftime Update Bradley Beal is 8/10 from the field for 19 points but that is just about the only thing that is going right for the Wizards thus far in Memphis as they trail 52-39 at the half. Coming back against Memphis is not exactly an easy task as they allow the third fewest points in the league. While Beal is 8/10, the rest of the team is 8/27 and Wall, Ariza and Gortat have combined for just four points in what was one of the Wizards worst offensive first halves of the year. Gortat was limited to just five first half minutes after picking up three fouls. James Johnson has provided a real spark off the bench for the Grizzlies, getting 10 points on 3/3 shooting from the field. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are also both in double figures for the Grizzlies and one of the keys to the second half will assuredly be limiting the Grizzlies' talented front court duo. Nick Calathes, filling in for the injured Mike Conley, showed well in the first half, playing tough defense on Wall and scoring six points while dishing out three assists.
The Wizards will need a quick start to the second half against the very stingy Grizzlies and they will definitely need Wall to get something going after that tough first half. The Wizards will also have to find a way to limit the Grizzlies effectiveness on the boards after losing the rebounding battle 22-13 in the first half. - Jacob Raim
Sitting courtside here at FedEx Forum with about an hour left until #WizGrizzlies tip.
Mike Conley, who is a gametime decision for tonight's game, was doing some sprints from end to end about 10 minutes ago, but it sounds like he's going to sit out until the All-Star break and wait until he's 100% before returning.
That's a big loss for the Grizz, who have lost three of four without him, as he's the straw that stirs their drink, the head of their snake or whatever analogy you want to make. Conley is a big piece to the Grizzlies' puzzle and without him they will turn again to Nick Calathes to run the point.
This could mean the Grizzlies rely even more on their two bigs down low, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Randy Wittman knows the key to tonight will be defending them and making sure to control the glass:
The Wizards have not won in Memphis since 2004 and have lost eight in a row during that stretch. However, in the last #WizGrizzlies game at Verizon Center, John Wall went off for a career-high 47 points in a win over these Grizz. If Conley is out, look for Wall to be aggressive and put up another big game tonight.
No other injury updates or changes for the Wiz, which is a good thing.
We'll be live chatting from Memphis at 8pm tonight.
Remember to follow WashWizards on Snapchat for a behind-the-scenes look at the team on the road.
Checking in from chilly Memphis, Tennessee, where we're just a few hours away from #WizGrizzlies at FedEx Forum.
I just returned from a great lunch at a local burger joint, Dyer's Burgers, with Monumental Network's Casey Phillips, Jumoke Davis, and the legendary Bullets' great Bobby D. What a treat to hear some stories from the past and what playing and traveling used to be like for the players of yesteryear. Times have certainly changed from when the teams had to fly commercial and wash their own jerseys. The food wasn't too bad either, but now back to tonight's game.
The Wizards are back on the road, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. They are 9-4 over their last 13 road games and have beaten some pretty good teams along the way. They have a 12-12 road record on the season, which is about where they want to be away from home. The issue has been winning games at home, as they are also .500 at Verizon Center (13-13), but that's a discussion for another post.
Tonight they get the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that's been to the playoffs the last few years and can really get after it on the defensive end. The Grizzlies are playing better basketball of late after a rough beginning, and have won seven of their last 10. They lead the Western Conference in points allowed per game (94.9) and even if their defensive specialist, Tony Allen, can't play again tonight (wrist), they still have their two trees in the middle, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. They've only given up over 100 points once in their last 14 games, so look for the Wizards to try and pick up the pace to combat their defensive pressure.
The Wizards' front line isn't too bad either and the battle between Marcin Gortat and Nene with Gasol and Randolph could be the difference in tonight's game. Two sets of big, physical players who can do it on both ends of the floor. That will be something to watch tonight.
The Grizzlies are hoping their start point guard, Mike Conley will be back in the lineup tonight after missing about a week and a half with an ankle sprain. We'll check back on that later tonight.
An interesting fact about the Grizzlies? They are the only team in the NBA with a road record over .500 (14-9) and a home record under (13-14).
Since the Wizards finally surpassed the .500 mark last week with their win over the Blazers, we don't need to make a big deal about moving over that mark again. Though, a win tonight would guarantee the team would be at least .500 heading into the All-Star break.
The Wizards will fly to Houston tonight and then play the Rockets tomorrow night before the break.
We'll check back in from FedEx Forum with more during pregame.
Be sure to follow WashWizards on Snapchat for a behind-the-scenes look at the team while on the trip.