Tony Allen was among the first to make a beeline toward the Nets' bench in the minutes leading up to tipoff, wanting to show some affection to the man who helped put Memphis pro hoops on the map.
Lionel Hollins was facing his old team for the first time since he was dumped in 2013, the franchise that didn't welcome him back weeks after he guided it to an appearance in the Western Conference Finals.
Pleasantries were exchanged as the players got reacquainted with their former coach, a moment many anticipated from the moment the schedule was released in August.
Memphis had no mercy on Hollins, though.
Zach Randolph had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Marc Gasol and Courtney Lee had 18 points apiece to propel the Grizzlies to a 103-92 victory over the Nets at Barclays Center Wednesday night, sending Brooklyn to its season-high seventh straight defeat.
Mason Plumlee had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead the Nets (16-23), who were without the services of Kevin Garnett because he was serving a one-game suspension for head-butting Rockets center Dwight Howard in Monday's loss. Joe Johnson scored only eight points, hitting 3 of 12 attempts from the field.
Memphis (27-11) dominated the Nets inside, pouring in 66 points and taking 49 shots in the paint. It was one of the many reasons a six-point deficit at the half quickly got out of hand early in the third quarter.
Undaunted by the Nets hanging tough with them for the tail end of the second half, Memphis came out and took it to them right away. Fueled by a 15-4 run, the Grizzlies jumped out to a 66-49 advantage and cruised from there.
Things even got to a point at which Gasol showed off a little flair during that impressive stretch, throwing a beautiful no-look pass in the paint to a cutting Allen for a reverse layup. Memphis vaulted itself to a 74-55 lead when Jeff Green, who was playing his first game with the Grizzlies after getting shipped to them from the Celtics as part of a three-team trade Monday, nailed a three-pointer with 3:05 remaining.
Here's how bored the crowd became after that: The loudest cheers were for Mr. Whammy, who received a loud ovation any time one of the Grizzlies missed a free throw on the arena's east side. The Nets' super fan and longtime season-ticket holder since the franchise's days in New Jersey heckles the opposition while standing underneath the basket, hoping to hex them into missing. That's what it's come down to in Brooklyn these days.
The gaping difference in the talent on the two rosters started showing up near the tail end of the first quarter, when Memphis rattled off a 16-2 run to turn a three-point Nets' lead into a 30-19 edge.
The Grizzlies got anything they wanted inside the paint, putting up more than half of their shots from the interior. Of their 21 attempts, 12 were tossed up in the paint, giving them a 18-12 edge in that department in the first quarter, establishing a physical tone that the Nets simply couldn't equal.