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Grizzlies coach David Fizdale to lineup-change critics: ‘Kiss my a–‘

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Marc GasolMike Conley, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen have made the Grizzlies pretty darn good for a while.

New Memphis coach David Fizdale is trying to make them a little better.

With that in mind, Fizdale started Aaron Harrison and Brandan Wright over Allen and JaMychal Green against the Nets on Monday. James Ennis received a DNP-CD. Troy Daniels almost fell completely out of the rotation. Zach Randolph saw far fewer minutes than usual.

The result: A 122-109 loss to lowly Brooklyn, dropping the Grizzlies to 14-14 in the calendar year, and major questions about Fizdale’s experimentation.

Mike Ceide of WREG TV:

Fizdale:

What I’m supposed to do? Settle for mediocrity and stay in a .500 mode and not do anything and just be OK with that? That’s the problem with the whole image of this group is that that’s been OK, and if we’re underdogs and we don’t win it, that’s OK. No. I won’t settle for that. I’ll continue to shuffle until I find something that works best to give us the best chance to hold the trophy. And if people don’t like it, they can kiss my a–.

I love Fizdale’s open-mindedness and frankness. He’s not afraid of implementing hard-hitting changes.

But Harrison and Wright? That’s probably too far outside the box.

The Grizzlies biggest problem has been Chandler Parsons, who remained in the starting lineup. Maybe that’s injury-related, and they just need to ride it out and hope he finds his stride. But that’s independent of Fizdale’s changes against the Nets.

I also believe Fizdale is incorrectly blaming Memphis’ mindset for the team only once advancing past the second round despite making the playoffs the last six years. The Grizzlies just never had the talent of the elite Western Conference teams in that span. Memphis was eliminated by teams featuring:

That said, there’s something healthy about the head coach refusing to admit his team is at a talent deficit. If Memphis’ roster is too lacking, there’s nothing left to do.

But if the Grizzlies have the underlying talent — or at least believe they do — they can try to play harder and smarter to tap it. Lineup changes might be the ticket.

Next time, just try something a little more likely to succeed than starting Harrison and Wright.

Grizzlies beat slumping Pacers, who fall into tie for final playoff spot

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Conley matched his career high with seven 3-pointers on his way to 36 points, helping the Memphis Grizzlies rout the Indiana Pacers 110-97 on Wednesday night.

Vince Carter had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Zach Randolph finished with 17 points as Memphis snapped a four-game losing streak. Conley went 13 for 21 from the field.

Paul George led the Pacers with 22 points, Aaron Brooks, who provided an early spark from outside the arc, had 18 points, and Thaddeus Young finished with 16.

Indiana lost for the fourth time in five games.

Memphis played without All-Star center Marc Gasol, who missed his third straight game with a left foot strain. But Conley helped the Grizzlies get off the fast start, and Pacers were never able to catch up.

Memphis led by as many as 22 in the second quarter and carried a 72-53 advantage into the break. Conley scored 22 points in the first half, and the Grizzlies went 10 for 17 from beyond the arc in the first two periods.

Brooks made four 3-pointers and scored 14 in the first half for Indiana.

The Grizzlies led 96-79 after three, and the sliding Pacers never threatened in the fourth.

Indiana (37-38) dropped into a tie with Miami for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Both are two games behind Milwaukee and Atlanta.

The Heat, Bucks and Hawks all won Wednesday night.

TIP-INS

Pacers: Brooks made a 3-pointer in the first quarter to reach 800 for his career. … Indiana dropped to 0-8 in road games on the second night of a back-to-back.

Grizzlies: JaMychal Green was out with left shoulder soreness. That caused Memphis to use its 22nd different starting lineup this season. … Memphis scored 38 points in the first quarter, matching its highest point total for any quarter this season. … Memphis has made at least 10 3-pointers in 36 games. … In the third quarter, Carter passed Ray Allen (24,505) for 22nd in NBA history for career points scored. … Reserve guard Andrew Harrison left in the third quarter with a right ankle injury.

PACERS HOMECOMINGS

Pacers forward Thaddeus Young played high school basketball in Memphis and still lives there. Pacers guard Monta Ellis has a home in the Eads community east of Memphis.

HOME STRETCH

Memphis (41-34), which sits seventh in the Western Conference playoff race, has a beneficial schedule down the stretch. Of its seven remaining games, five are at home, and five are against teams with losing records.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Visit Toronto on Friday.

Grizzlies: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Three Mavericks teammates restrain Devin Harris, who still gets ejected (video)

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dallas guard Devin Harris was ejected from Wednesday night’s 121-118 loss to New Orleans after angrily protesting calls made by official Ben Taylor.

Harris was assessed two quick technical fouls by Taylor, the first after Harris protested Taylor’s decision to whistle him for a personal foul when he collided with Pelicans’ guard Jordan Crawford.

The impact with Crawford sent Harris crashing to the court, marking the second time in the period that Harris had gone down hard. The first time, no foul was called when a collision with Pelicans’ guard E'Twaun Moore left Harris flat on his back.

When Harris was assessed the first technical, he went into a tirade and had to be restrained by teammates as he advanced toward Taylor. That triggered his ejection.

Bucks’ Malcolm Brogdon beats shot clock, Celtics with dagger (video)

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Who should win Rookie of the Year?

Joel Embiid has been, by far, the best rookie while on the court, but a season-ending injury will limit him to just 31 games. Malcolm Brogdon has been next best over the full course of the season. Dario Saric is making a heck of a finishing kick, and with a couple weeks left, he can still catch Brogdon.

But Brogdon got his own late signature moment in the Bucks’ 103-100 win over the Celtics tonight.

With the Bucks up one in the final seconds and the shot clock nearing expiration, Brogdon hit an off-balance jumper with 3.9 seconds left to produce the final margin.

Milwaukee’s win drops Boston (48-27) to second in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Cavaliers (47-26). The Bucks (39-36) keep pace with the Hawks in a tie for fifth.

Russell Westbrook scores most points ever in triple-double, 57

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Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.

Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.

Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.

All three in one game?

That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.

This MVP race is one for the ages.