The 2012-13 NBA Preseason is approaching an end and the Memphis Grizzlies are ready to move forward.
"Too long," said Grizz forward Rudy Gay when asked to sum up the preseason thus far.
He paused and laughed.
"No it's good for us," Gay added. "We have a totally different team and guys have started gelling."
Seven games behind them and coming off a three-game road trip, the Grizzlies are gearing up for the regular season. One preseason game remained after Memphis defeated the Orlando Magic 115-100 on Wednesday (Oct. 24) at the FedExForum in front of 10,263 fans.
Head coach Lionel Hollins is not letting up on his team. He has treated the preseason as more than a precursor to the regular season, taking advantage of the team's strengths while focusing and improving on past weaknesses such as three point shooting.
Memphis shot 62.5 percent from three-point range against Orlando and improved the team's long-range shooting to 40 percent during the preseason.
Gay was a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range. Zach Randolph registered 18 points, scoring 10 points in the third quarter alone.
Hollins said he "played the rotation such as if it were a regular season game, except when guys really started to get tired, I expected them to be."
Trying to evaluate other people is not necessarily the focal point, said Hollins.
"We're just trying to see how combinations work. I thought that Zach (Randolph) and Mo (Speights) played really well together, which they didn't do a lot of last year. I thought Marc (Gasol) and Mo played together well also."
All five Grizzlies starters ended in double digits, led by Gay with 20 points. In his fourth consecutive start, Wayne Ellington recorded 13 points, his third 10-plus point effort of the preseason.
Memphis outscored Orlando 60-36 in the paint. Under Hollins, the Grizzlies have paced the league in points in the paint per game since the start of the 2009-10 regular season.
On the make-it-better list is pick-and-roll defense.
"We have to keep getting better on pick-and-roll defense because that's the key all around the league," Hollins said. "All of these teams are playing multiple pick and rolls. We have to not make as many mistakes. When we don't' make mistakes, we do a good job."
So far so good, said center Marc Gasol, reflecting on preseason.
"Were not as effective as we want to be yet, but we are working towards the right direction, that's for sure."
Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said he has used preseason to focus on growth.
"You want to grow together," Vaughn said. "It is new for everyone. We want to use the time we have left to continue to learn about each other. Things just become really natural when you do."