"When a good thing goes bad it's not the end of the world." Drake, the famous rapper and now Toronto Raptors Ambassador, was in attendance tonight to watch the Grizzlies beatdown first hand. So, how appropriate it is to use his lyrics to represent what Grizzlies fans should take from this game. Sure, the Grizzlies played with no energy and ran no semblance of an offense, but then again, it's just preseason. Relax.
The Grizzlies had an off night to say the least. The starting lineup consisted of Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Quincy Pondexter, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol. The only semi-surprise in that group was Pondexter. He received only his second start in seven preseason games over veteran small forward Mike Miller, but if he keeps performing like he did tonight, he won't be starting too many more games. Pondexter's has struggled defensively in the past several preseason games as well. He is letting far too many people blow by him, and that's concerning since he is one of the Grizzlies better wing defenders. Hopefully that's just preseason rust, but it's tough to tell. None of the starters finished with more than 8 points or 5 rebounds. As a team so heavily reliant on scoring from its starters, those numbers are not a recipe for success.
Ed Davis was the high point of the night for the Grizzlies. He had a sneaky good performance, posting a line of 11 points and 9 rebounds in just 16:06. Davis could do even better offensively if he could learn to put some touch on the ball. Davis seems incapable of just pushing the ball fall out of his hand into the basket. The signature play of the game from the Grizzlies came when Davis received the ball on the right block, took one power dribble towards the middle, and threw down a ferocious dunk. However, his competition didn't play too shabby either. Jon Leuer finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds. Every decent Grizzlies performance was almost unnoticeable given the team's performance as a whole.
On another front, Nick Calathes is a truly awful shooter. He finished just 1-9 from the field. He was able to get five assists though, which is promising since the Grizzlies are counting on him to takeover the backup point guard role. He's a wonderful distributor when he doesn't try to overcomplicate things, which the Grizzlies don't need him to do.
One of the main reasons for this throttling was the rebound differential. The Grizzlies were outrebounded 54-36. That shouldn't be much of a concern, as the Grizzlies surely won't be beaten on the boards many nights. Combine the abundance of easy buckets for the Raptors with the continued abysmal three-point shooting of the Grizzlies, and it's easy to see why Memphis was unable to close the gap. Memphis shot just 4-17 from deep tonight, and with Miller riding the bench for most of the night, presumably to preserve the integrity of his body for the regular season, the Grizzlies didn't stand a chance to make that percentage more respectable.
Tony Allen's offensive inconsistency tonight was not a surprise, but knowing about his offensive woes doesn't make watching him miss a layup any easier. You know how when you watch a child chunk the ball at the rim with his all his might and hope it makes it up there and goes in, and you're thinking "bless their heart" the whole time? Yeah, that's how it feels watching Allen shoot layups.
The Raptors got a great game out of DeMar DeRozan, who certainly seems to have taken his game to another level this year. He torched the Grizzlies with 21 points. Additionally, Rudy Gay scored an inefficient 15 points that really didn't matter all that much in the end.
To give you an idea just how bad the Grizzlies were tonight, Austin Daye scored 14 points on 5-6 shooting, including 3-3 from beyond the arc. Cope with that however you like.
All in all, it was an ugly performance by the Grizzlies. It's never fun to lose a game by that big of a margin, especially to a much lesser opponent, but again, at least it's the preseason. Hopefully Memphis will be in full gear come next Wednesday. Grizzlies fans are counting on it.
The last preseason game is on Friday against the Rockets back in the Forum at 8:00 PM EST.
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