The Grizz split their four game home stand 2-2 with a 91-83 loss to the New Orleans Hornets (15-29), falling to 28-15 on the year. A sluggish offensive effort was not aided by the absence of Mike Conley, who left the game with 7:40 in the first quarter with a sprained left ankle.
Reserve Jarryd Bayless mounted a respectable night offensively, scoring 14 points on 6-12 shooting and 5 assists, but failed to spark much life in the latter part of the game.
Z-Bo was the bright spot of the Grizzly offense, shooting 9/16 for 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, making tonight his 28th double-double on the year. Marc and TA added 14 and 9 points respectively, but it was not enough to counter Ryan Anderson’s hot handed 3-point shooting.
Anderson shot 7-13 from the floor (all 3’s), and finished with 22 points. It was his fade away, desperation 3 pointer over Bayless late in the fourth which served as the proverbial dagger for the Grizz, who once again found themselves floundering in the last period.
Perhaps the story of the night, though, is Rudy’s continued struggles. He was coming off just a 12 point effort in a rout of the Nets, and tonight was just 3-17 shooting for 10 points. Rudy also committed 4 turnovers.
Not exactly the performance you need out of your leading scorer. While it’s easy to dwell on Rudy’s lackadaisical play, it is becoming clear that the Grizzlies’ at times terrible offensive play transcends one player. 36.4% from the floor is not going to win you many games, even when they are against the Hornets. The offense did have bright moments tonight, i.e. Wroten’s impressive no look passes and Bayless’ aggressive play, but missed layups and a failure to capitalize on NOLA’s turnovers proved to be insurmountable.
The Grizz don’t have much time to think about this one, as they travel to Philly tomorrow night to take on the 18-25, and well rested, Sixers. It will be tough road test for the short-handed Grizzlies. The Hornets have a break till Tuesday, when they play the Lakers.
After Philly the Grizz then go to OKC, where they play the league leading Thunder. Not exactly a holiday road trip, and with this tough stretch coming up a win tonight would have been huge, especially with the Clippers’ recent struggles.
Let’s hope that Mike’s ankle is better. Positive thinking says it is minor, and he rests tomorrow against Philly and is ready to go Thursday for the Thunder.