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The Grizzlies Continue Their Good Team Struggles

The Memphis Grizzlies, with their 89-84 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs last night, dropped their record against teams .500 or better to 5-12. Two things stick out here: One, that of their 25 overall games -- of which they now stand at 12-13 -- 17 have been against teams without losing records. The second, obviously, is that the Grizzlies simply aren't defeating these quality teams, and that is cause for concern, especially, when, you know, that's 68 percent of your games.

Last week's encouraging wins over Denver and in Atlanta aside, the Grizzlies have fallen to Portland, the Clippers, Oklahoma City, Boston, and now San Antonio twice in the last two or so weeks. Their fatal flaw, it seems, has often been the dreaded One Really Terrible Offensive Quarter; Memphis is shooting 35 percent overall from the floor so far in the month of February, and too often they go cold, way cold, for a stretch that is so bad they cannot dig themselves out of it or hold on long enough to maintain the lead they had.

After battling back all night against the Spurs, following a sluggish start, the Grizzlies used that monster 25-6 second half run to regain the lead, only to net a season-low quarter tally of 11 points in the fourth. Memphis mustered so much energy getting back into striking distance that when they did veteran San Antonio had already absorbed the blow and regained their footing. The Grizzlies just couldn't finish the job completely, because when their offense goes, it freaking goes.

The bright side is, this was the first game of a pretty long home stand in this short season, and Kevin Love will be sitting out on Wednesday when the Timberwolves come in (Minnesota actually currently sits above Memphis in John Hollinger's most updated Playoff Odds; the Grizz have dropped to a scary 48.5 percent chance of making the postseason). The Grizzlies need to stop the bleeding then, as the losing streaks -- they're in the midst of their second three-game losing skid of the season, with a four-gamer in late January as well -- are also becoming worrisome.

Yes, they're banged up, without their best player from a season ago, but Memphis is, simply put, not being better than the league's better teams when they need to be. Right now, as disconcerting as the continued losses to the upper echelon are, the Grizzlies need to find a shooting touch of some sort and, subsequently, a way to avoid the killer quarters that could knock them out of any game.