Grizzlies still off to best season in team history

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013

"Not a lot of people thought we would start as quickly as we did, and now teams give us 110 percent effort every night regardless of who we're playing," Conley said. "They're scheming us and trying to do different things to try to knock us off balance. We've tried to learn to play against it, and we're still learning. It's all new for us. We haven't started off this quickly and this well I think in history, so it's new territory for us, and we're still learning."

The Grizzlies are three wins better through 41 games than ever before for this franchise. With 10 games left to the All-Star break, they are on target to top the 30-22 mark in 2003-04 that currently is the team's best at that point in a season.

Gay, averaging a team-best 17.3 points per game, has been the topic of trade rumors for weeks. He's not talking about that speculation and said the Grizzlies are looking to build as much momentum and consistency as they can heading into the All-Star break.

"We really need guys to pick it up and play hard ... and kind of get on a groove going into the break," Gay said.

What remains to be seen is how much Tuesday's trade helps Memphis. The Grizzlies avoided paying $4 million in luxury tax and got $2.4 million below the threshold by trading Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby to Cleveland.

Fans in Memphis are split on the trade. Many see the team's new owners giving up on the Grizzlies while others hope avoiding the luxury tax this season may keep those starters together for one more postseason run.

General manager Chris Wallace said only the move gives Memphis enough flexibility including trade exceptions that the team doesn't have to make a move by the trade deadline Feb. 21.

The Grizzlies host the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night in the third of a four-game home stand looking to build on their big win over the Lakers.

"If we build in the right direction and keep getting better, this team can be very good," Conley said.

___

Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker