Head Coach Lionel Hollins walked into his post-game conference on Monday (Jan. 13) with a smile on his face. The Memphis Grizzlies had just skated past the Orlando Magic 100-97 and the victory was a record-setter.
With the win, Hollins, the Grizzlies eleventh head coach, notched is 85th victory, surpassing Mike Fratello as the team’s winningest coach.
Hollins wasn’t moved. He was more inclined to discuss point guard Mike Conley’s great game, including 26 points and 11 assists.
He told the media that he knew coming in that Orlando’s game plan would be to double team the Grizzlies’ double-double man, Zach Randolph, and pick up the defense against Rudy Gay. He was right.
have a lot of character on our team,” said Lionel Hollins,
now the winningest coach in Grizzlies franchise history. (Photo by
Asked about becoming the Grizzlies’ coach with the most wins, Hollins said, “It means nothing.”
He said he’d rather win an NBA Championship or a Western Conference Final.
“I’ve been here longer than any other coach,” Hollins said matter-of-factly. “Most coaches have only been here two years. I’ve been here two years-plus and another 60 games in Vancouver.”
When Hollins started as Grizz head coach in 2009, his goals included training a team to play hard and be tough.
“I had another coach tell me whatever your game plan is stick to it. Eventually they’ll get it if they have character,” Hollins said. “We have a lot of character on our team. They’ve been pushing and pushing.”
That’s starting to show more and more. With a roster that reflects one of the youngest teams in the NBA, Memphis climbed over .500 (25-24) for the first time since Oct. 30 with the victory over Orlando, a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.
“Congratulations to coach,” said Grizz Guard Tony Allen, upon learning of Hollins’ milestone. “We don’t wanna get complacent with that. Our job is to get to the playoffs.”
“It’s a long season and there’s so much to getting your team right,” said Hollins. “You’ve got to get back to what you were a year before….We’ve been through a lot this season.”
And while the team has grown, so has Hollins himself.
“I had to grow a little bit myself in the perspective of trying to do too many things and listening to too many people,” he said.
“I had to get back to what my plan was as far as getting points in the paint and playing the way this team is built.
NOTE: The Grizzlies defeated the Timberwolves 102-84 in Minnesota on Wednesday night (Feb. 2). They return to the FedExForum to play the Cavaliers on Feb. 4, before heading to Houston to play the Rockets on Feb. 5. On Monday, Feb. 7, the Lakers come to Memphis, with the Grizzlies headed to Oklahoma City to play the Thunder on Feb. 8.