Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 3/28/12
When the Grizzlies found out that the only Grizzlies player that had started every game this season -- center Marc Gasol -- was going to sit on Tuesday's game against the Timberwolves with a sore ankle, no one in the Grizzlies locker room batted an eye. "I don't think anybody said a word," Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said. "We're just kind of used to things not being normal by now." That's true. Zach Randolph returns from 2-12 months of being sidelined with a knee injury, then is taken out of the starting lineup until he gets back his rhythm and full-time aggressiveness. The Grizzlies sign free agent guard Gilbert Arenas, play him in two games and then sit him the last two while he gets in game shape. So when Gasol can't play, even for a guy who averages 15.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists, Memphis doesn't panic. Instead, they shift starting power forward Mareese Speights to center and pull small forward Dante Cunningham off the bench to start at power forward. All the 6-4 Cunningham does is score 13 points and collect 14 rebounds, both season highs for him, in a 93-86 victory. Cunningham's performance shows how the Grizzlies are 27-21 this season. It's not the individual parts, it's the collective whole. "This is why you have 12 players on a team," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "You've always got to be ready to play. On Sunday in Los Angeles (in a win over the Lakers), Dante might have played one minute. We had to use a big lineup and he didn't fit it. But Minnesota went small and I used him." Cunningham said the Grizzlies play as a family and the chemistry is contagious. "We really work off each other well," he said. "We all feed off each other. My mindset is always the same -- play hard and bring energy." NOTES, QUOTES -For the second time this year, the Grizzlies assigned rookie G Josh Selby to the Reno Bighorns of the NDBL. He played four games for the Bighorns in February, averaging 21.5 points. He has averaged 2.5 points and 1.2 assists in 8.8 minutes in 23 games with the Grizzlies this season. The decision was made to send Selby back to the NBDL when the Grizzlies signed veteran free agent Gilbert Arenas. -Memphis won for the 11th time in the last 12 games against the Timberwolves? What's the secret? "They are a little sloppy, a little loose with the ball," Grizzlies F Zach Randolph said. -The Grizzlies got 14 offensive rebounds versus Minnesota and converted them into a season-high 25 second-chance points. ROSTER REPORT -Everyone in FedExForum held their collective breath when G Mike Conley came up limping after slamming on the brakes and hitting a pull-up jumper late in the first half. Since the Grizzlies don't have a proven backup point guard -- Gilbert Arenas will be that guy when he gets in shape -- Conley had to be okay. He returned in the second half and finished with 12 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. "It's just one of those things where my ankle gave out on the fast break," Conley said. "It really hurt. I didn't think I was going to able to get up after I fell. But I worked it out in the back, got it re-taped and was able to finish the game." -FC Marreese Speights, whether at forward or at center, is simply better as a starter than a reserve, according to Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. "When he gets consistent minutes and knows he's going to play," Hollins said of Speights, who had 18 points and seven rebounds as the emergency starting center against the Timberwolves, "he's much better than when he's playing split minutes." Said Speights, "This is the NBA. You've got to be ready for anything." -G Tony Allen had his usual disruptive defensive night, going for 13 points (mostly in transition), making a couple of steals and tipping countless passes. "We did a good job defensively of helping the helper," Allen said. "That's when we're at our best defensively, when we're into each other and what we're doing. When you do it consistently for 48 minutes, you get wins like this." QUOTE TO NOTE "Coach (Lionel) Hollins has proven that what he says works as long as we give 100 percent." -- Grizzlies G O.J. Mayo.
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