Despite the Memphis Grizzlies missing their two best players for a while now, they’ve somehow continued to keep pace in the Western Conference and hold onto the fifth seed. Even without Mike Conley and Marc Gasol (and with many other players missing games here and there over the past few weeks), the Grizz just have too much Grit ‘n Grind to roll over — and a lot of that can be credited to Tony Allen, the Grindfather, whose defensive intensity has been a hallmark of this team for years now.
With all the injuries though, Allen has had to take on more offensive responsibility than ever before. He’s averaging 15 points in the month of March, nearly twice his season average. He is the guy who the Warriors guarded with Andrew Bogut because he was considered such an offensive liability, but on Tuesday night, he entered some rarefied air when he went 12-12 from the field for 27 points against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Of course, because the Grizzlies are so thin, they’re liable to have surprising results in both directions, and they still managed to lose to one of the worst teams in the league. That’s why Tony didn’t care about how well he shot after the game:
That sort of talk is emblematic of the kind of leader Allen is in Memphis. To him, no amount of personal achievement matters if his team doesn’t win the game. But since we aren’t in that locker room, we can talk about it all we want.
Since 1983, only three players have ever taken more shots from the field without missing: Gary Payton, Vin Baker and Roy Hinson. Serge Ibaka was the last man to go at least 12-12, in 2014. Interestingly, of all the players who were perfect with that many shot attempts, only Payton attempted a three-pointer, and only Payton and Hinson were also perfect from the line.
Allen may have entered the history books on offense, but his utter dissatisfaction with the game is more indicative of his value to Memphis.