Both were shooting between 41 and 42 percent and things seemed out of sync for both. Memphis ended the night hitting 45 percent, while the Wizards were at 41 percent. Prince said for Memphis the flow was off because of the new surroundings and being unfamiliar with the Grizzlies’ playbook.
“Marc Gasol was pretty much directing me every time Mike (Conley) called a play,” Prince said. “There were times in the first half and the third quarter where we ran plays and I was kind of going here and going there not knowing what the situation was.”
Memphis couldn’t extend the advantage enough to get comfortable in the early part of the fourth, and Trevor Ariza’s 3-pointer with 8:22 left pulled Washington within 67-66.
Memphis eventually took the lead to 10 points, its biggest lead of the game, when Prince connected on consecutive jumpers for a 72-62 lead with 1:11 remaining.
“I was worried,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “You never know. We had new players on the bench, so we had more people to work with. But you never know how it is going to work out when you have new guys for the first game.”
While Prince hit his first three shots, both teams struggled from the field in the second quarter, including Washington missing 16 of its first 18 shots in the frame. Memphis was 6 of 20 in the second, while the Wizards were 5 of 23. Memphis outscored Washington 16-10 in the second quarter.
Neither team had a player in double figures at halftime, and Memphis matched its poor shooting with 10 turnovers to seven miscues for the Wizards. For Memphis, it was an example of the first game adjustments.
“I think that’s why we struggled early in the first half,” Prince said. “We went through a couple of plays pregame, but obviously we know the difference between pregame and once you get out on that court, especially in a short period of time.
“It was tough, but they tried to keep it as simple as possible for the first game.”