Mar 1, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Spencer Hawes (32) is guarded by Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) during the game at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Instant Reaction: Memphis Grizzlies 110, Cleveland Cavaliers 96

Final Outcome

The Cavs fell to the Grizzles tonight at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, 110-96. The first half was an up-tempo, high scoring battle. At the half, the Cavs lead 65-54. The Grizzles are known for their defense – allowing only 94.9 per game – but that was nowhere to be found in the first 24 minutes. However, something clicked during halftime for the Griz and they regained their defensive prowess immediately at the start of the third. They completely dominated the second half, holding the Cavs to only 15 points in the third quarter and 16 in the fourth. The difference between the two halves was day and night. Leading the way for the losers tonight was Kyrie Irving, with 28 points. Three other starters (Hawes, Deng, and Thompson), were in double figures. For Memphis, Zach Randolph scored 23 points. He did not do it alone either, as Mike Conley and Marc Gasol each had 22 of their own.

Key Play to the Game

I was thinking about taking the easy way out and not choosing one specific play as being the key one. I was about to choose each and every second of the third quarter until ex-Ohio State Buckeye, Mike Conley, netted a crucial deep ball with 3:00 left in the game. The Cavs were just clawing back into it, as it was a one-possession game – 97-94. Things looked like they were heading up until Conley’s three-pointer. The momentum clearly tilted in the favor Memphis and made it tough for the Cavs to compete in the final three minutes.

Wine and Gold MVP

It wasn’t just because he led them with 28 points, but Kyrie was definitely the Wine and Gold MVP tonight. As the game was slowly unraveling at the seams during the third quarter, Irving was on the bench. Immediately after he checked in, he was looking to attack and make things happen. He had a sense of urgency and realized he needed to try and stop the bleeding before it got to late. He was a notch above the rest tonight.

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Up Next

The Cavs have a few days off before they take the court on Tuesday, February 4th, against the San Antonio Spurs. The game is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. When the two teams faced off earlier this season in late November, the Spurs won handily, 126-96. San Antonio is one of the top teams in the entire league so this will be a tough test for the Wine and Gold as they hunt for the eight seed. It is also Kyrie Irving bobble head night.

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