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Tony Allen fights Grizzlies teammate; Utah’s Rudy Gobert is a monster


Tony Allen

is one of the best defenders in the game, and one of the NBA’s best energy men. The Memphis Grizzlies simply wouldn’t be who they are without their Grindfather, who acts as a flag for their singularly plodding, crunching identity.

But Tony’s fire doesn’t come without a tax. Allen was suspended for the Grizzlies’ 93-82 loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, under the vague umbrella of “violating team policy.”

Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal brought new information about the missed game today, though. He reports that Allen was told to take the night off because a heated altercation with reserve guard Nick Calathes. The spat did not become physical, but apparently it was bad enough for Memphis to take punitive measures.

This isn’t the first time Allen has gotten into it with a teammate. He famously punched O.J. Mayo in the face on the team plane, years ago, over a gambling debt.

The game against Utah also gave us a look at one of the league’s brightest rising stars: Jazz center Rudy Gobert, a sophomore from France. The 7’2” Gobert collected 24 rebounds in the game, utilizing his record-setting wingspan to make Memphis center Marc Gasol look bad.

With Enes Kanter gone in a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Rudy has seen his minutes rise, and he’s blossomed even more than his biggest optimists had anticipated he could. He now seems like the linchpin to what could be one of the NBA’s best defenses as soon as next season.

Utah fans can delight even further about their Frenchman, referred to by some as the Stifle Tower, knowing that he was an absolute steal at No. 27 in the 2013 draft class. If the quickly rising Jazz compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference in 2016, it should surprise no one.

— John Wilmes