Well...there goes the ever-allusive perfect season.
The Memphis Grizzlies picked up their first loss of the season Saturday night in Milwaukee. Despite 22 points and 14 rebounds from Zach Randolph, Memphis blew a late lead and lost 93-92 in regulation.
Things started off poorly for the Grizzlies, as they would fail to score for the first two minutes and nineteen seconds of the game, while allowing the Bucks to start on a 7-0 run. After weathering that initial storm, Memphis would begin to chip away at the lead from the free throw line. 11 of their 23 first quarter points would come from the charity stripe, and they would ride that advantage to a 23-21 lead after the first quarter.
Both teams would trade runs in the second quarter, with Milwaukee holding a lead as large as three points, and Memphis running it's advantage as high as seven. With less than two seconds to go in the half, the Grizzlies inbounded the ball to Zach Randolph at half court, and the big fella got a nice running start to bank in a heave from 43-feet out. It was elegant, graceful, and everything you want half court lobs from your franchise power forward to be.
The third quarter started in typical Grizzlies fashion. Off of a defensive rebound, Tony Allen ran the length of the court and finished a nice layup over and in between three Bucks' defenders. 43 seconds later, he missed a wide-open layup off a nifty pass, because, Tony Allen. Memphis would build it's lead all the way to 10 on the back of 10 more attempts at the free throw line, but the Bucks would trim that lead down to just six at 72-66 heading into the final quarter.
Milwaukee answered the bell in the first quarter, once again starting the period on a 7-0 run to take the lead at 73-72. Memphis would regain the advantage and lead by as many as four before Giannis Antetokounmpo realized the Grizzlies didn't have a player on the floor that could stop him. The Greek Freak had 12 of his 18 points in the period, carrying the Bucks down the stretch. The one time the Grizzlies were able to deny him a path to the basket, he assisted on a Jerryd Bayless 3-pointer.
With Memphis up by one, Milwaukee fouled Mike Conley, sending him to the line for two more free throw shots. After the Grizzlies had gone 30/32 at the line for the night, Mike was only able to split the pair, and the Bucks got the ball back with eight seconds to play and trailing by only two points.
The ball came to Brandon Knight, and he drove to the basket making a layup while being fouled by Courtney Lee, who had inexplicably left his man to come foul Knight while he was shooting. Knight would make the free throw, and Memphis would miss a last second 3-point attempt from Courtney Lee to drop them to 6-1 on the season.
Game Notes from the Legend-wait for it-Diary
- Early in the first half, Brevon Knight made a comment about the free throw line being a friend to the Grizzlies, which may have been the first time anyone has ever been able to factually make that statement. Unfortunately, it turned heel on them and stabbed them in the back with the late Mike Conley miss and the Brandon Knight make.
- Memphis lost the rebounding battle 43-40, but it felt much more lopsided than that. This is the fourth time this season that the Grizzlies have lost the battle on the boards, and is something that is decently concerning going forward.
- Zach Randolph cannot guard Giannis Antetokounmpo.
- Tayshaun Prince: 27 minutes, 3-10 from the field, including a missed 3-pointer within seconds of an offensive rebound, a missed pump fake, jab step, pump fake, jab step, step back jumper, and a missed break away layup alley-oop to nobody in particular. A little bit of the crow people had been eating just got sent back.
- The box score tells me Jon Leuer made three shots tonight, but I'm not buying it. Vanilla Thunder continues to struggle and looks like a man devoid of all confidence.
- OJ Mayo had seven assists tonight. He told you guys he could run the point.
- Speaking of OJ, do Bucks' fans call him Fro-J Mayo? Because this should be a thing. Free nickname, on the house, Milwaukee.
- Marc Gasol had four rebounds and 11 shot attempts in 34 minutes of play. The Grizzlies need him to be more aggressive.
- The Grizzlies are now 0-1 when they take 23 more free throw attempts than their opponent.
- Vince Carter has missed more games this season than Mike Miller did all of last year. (That is in no way a knock on Carter, just something that is interesting. Don't come at me, bro)
- I am still over-defeated when attending watch parties at the FedEx Forum, and am issuing a sweeping declaration that I will never attend another one, ever again, ever.
As much as this loss stings, it's simply one loss, and the Grizzlies are still 6-1. It is infuriating to lose to teams that are inferior to you, but it happens to everyone throughout the course of the NBA season. While Memphis certainly has some issues to work out, they'll have a couple days off to put in the work before getting the chance to take out their frustrations on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers Tuesday Night in Memphis.