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Grizzlies Fail to Keep Moving Forward, Fall to Pelicans

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The Grizzlies lost their second straight MLK Day game, falling to the Pelicans 95-92, despite a 20-20 night from Zach Randolph.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Final - 1.20.2014 1 2 3 4 Total
New Orleans Pelicans 25 16 27 27 95
Memphis Grizzlies 20 20 29 23 92

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Well...that game sucked. That game was like watching your longtime crush make out with the guy you hated most in high school while he repeatedly kicks you in the groin. That game was the NBA equivalent of an elevator fart. That game was a surprise rectal exam with sandpaper gloves. It just flat out sucked.

What I liked about this game: Zach Randolph turning it on. This was vintage, "Give me a ball, and get out of my way" ZBo, and he looked unstoppable, and was unstoppable really, in the third quarter. He put the team on his back, but really didn't get any help.

What I absolutely hated liked least about this game: Abandoning success. Here's why this game was so frustrating. It's not that the Pelicans just have our number and we can do nothing against them, we simply abandoned what was working for us. Courtney Lee was perfect from the field in the first half, and didn't get any shots in the third quarter. We got the ball in his hands late in the fourth, and he did good things with it. Zach Randolph went ballistic in the third quarter, and he was rewarded with one-shot attempt in the fourth. I just don't understand it.

The Pelicans entered this game losers of 5 in a row, and the Grizzlies winners of 5 in a row, but neither of those things mattered, as poor execution and game plan by the Grizzlies and tremendous athleticism from New Orleans proved too much for Memphis to overcome. Zach Randolph led the way for Memphis with 23 points and 20 rebounds, but had only one more shot attempt in the fourth quarter than I did. (That's one, for those of you following along at home) Anthony Davis scored a game high 27, going 9-10 from the line, to go along with 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 4 steals and 2 assists.

As has become the norm for Memphis, Courtney Lee got the scoring going in the first quarter, scoring 10 of his 19 in the period. New Orleans used the inside-out game to their advantage, getting a couple of 3's from Brain Roberts and Eric Gordon to go along with 8 points from their bigs. Coupling that with 6 first quarter turnovers, and the Grizzlies found themselves down 25-20 after one.

In the second quarter, the Grizzlies spent the first half refusing to score a bucket. Over the first 7:40 of the quarter, the Grizzlies managed 6 total points. Fortunately, the Pelicans weren't lighting the world on fire on their end either, and were only able to amass a 10-point lead. The Grizzlies would find their groove late in the quarter, closing it on a 14-5 run, and were down only one point at halftime.

Both teams would trade buckets and free throws to start the second half, with the Pelicans jumping ahead by 3, and Memphis holding a lead 4 at certain times in the quarter. Anthony Davis flexed his muscle in the quarter, scoring 15 of his team's 27 points, including 7 points from the free throw line. Not to be outdone by the kid, Zach Randolph went what I believe the kids are calling "HAM." The big fella had 16 of his own in the quarter to pace the Grizzlies, cleaning up the glass and getting to the line when he couldn't finish. He was 7-9 shooting in the quarter, and looked determined to lead the Grizzlies to victory.

The game remained close over the first few minutes of the final frame, and was knotted up at 76 with 8:23 to play after an Ed Davis bucket. Over the next 2:40 of game play; the Pelicans would go on a 9-0 run to pull away from the Grizzlies. Memphis responded with a 9-2 run to make it a one-possession game, but would get no closer than that, and the Pelicans would secure a final rebound and run the clock out to win 95-92.

Game Notes from the Legend-wait for it-Diary

  1. Hat tip to the X-factor for New Orleans, Tyreke Evans. Memphis simply had no answer for him. Tayshaun Prince couldn't stay in front of him, or really even near him, without fouling. Mike Miller had no chance. The former Tiger had 11 in the quarter, and he was really the difference tonight.
  2. 18 bench points tonight. That simply won't cut it. Especially when the other team goes for 38. Statistically, the starters played really well, each finishing with a +/- of +2 or better. The bench had one 0 (Jon Leuer) and everyone else with a -5 or worse, including James Johnson with an atrocious -15.
  3. Memphis is now a humiliating 0-10 in the division, and remain the only team in the NBA without a divisional win. That's right. The Bucks, Jazz, Celtics, Bobcats, everyone; Memphis is the only team without a win in it's division. Again, humiliating.
  4. The Grizzlies shot 5 more Free Throws than the Pelicans, 28 and 23 respectively. Can't pin this one on poor officiating.
  5. Courtney Lee had 19 points on 6-8 shooting. It's going to be EXTREMELY difficult to insert Tony Allen into the starting lineup when he's finally healthy. I don't see any way they can do it at the shooting guard position.
  6. Rough shooting night for Mike Conley, going 4-15 from the field. The Pelicans defended him well, but for the most part, he just didn't have it tonight.
  7. I passed the ice cream man walking to the Forum tonight. In January.
  8. Memphis had only 2 steals tonight.

The loss drops the Grizzlies back to .500. They'll get a couple of days off before a tough home-and-home with the Rockets this weekend. The NBA season is a long and grueling one, and they can't let one loss, as incredibly frustrating as it is, put a damper on their good play as of late. They've come to far to do that. Now they have to keep moving forward.