The Memphis Grizzlies lost by 50 points to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. It was the fourth game of the season so it's really difficult to say if anything important can be taken from that. But the Grizzlies have some serious issues at the moment.
The game was close after the first quarter; the Grizzlies actually led by one! Memphis looked like they had flipped the switch and were going to compete against the best team the NBA had to offer. Matt Barnes was doing Matt Barnes things, Marc Gasol looked like the best player on the floor and the defense didn't look completely discombobulated.
It didn't last long. The wheels came off in the second quarter where the Grizzlies were outscored 32-12 and didn't get into double digit scoring until two minutes were left in the first half. The offense completely stalled because the Grizzlies spacing was so out of whack. Zach Randolph is either out of shape or the tiny man using the control inside him has died. He looked completely overwhelmed in every facet of the game.
If Randolph is going to go 2-9 and put up 4 point and 3 rebound stat lines, the Grizzlies cannot win. The way Golden State defended was the same thing Randolph and company saw in the post in the playoffs and it was the same result. He quickly became unplayable.
Mike Conley and Courtney Lee looked completely overmatched against the Warriors. Lee looked especially not so great. He was 2-11, 0-5 from three and struggled on defense. Tony Allen joined in on the missing party by trying to prove the Warriors wrong for not guarding him. He went 0-6.
When all hope was lost in the third and fourth quarters who did the Grizzlies turn to? Not Jordan Adams and Russ Smith, who played 8 and 6 minutes respectively, but 38 year old Vince Carter. Because we really needed to see what he has left in the tank in this game. Which is nothing; the shred of hope I had that he would turn it around has been dashed.
Again, I reiterate- he has nothing left. He's still limping, can't get his feet underneath himself enough to get shots near the rim, and cannot guard anyone on this Warriors team or any other team for that matter. Combine all that with worse shot selection choices than JR Smith and you have a player that shouldn't get another minute in a Grizzlies uniform. It's the same thing as last year.
It was just a good way for Coach Dave Joerger to avoid playing the young guys. If he didn't play them last night I have no hope that he ever will and that's a shame. It would have been a great opportunity for them to show off what they have, but instead they sat on the bench and watched the worst loss in Grizzlies history.
When the Grizzlies offense hits literal rock bottom he could have gone to Adams or Smith to be that spark that they can be. Nothing else was working and most likely won't be working anytime soon against the Warriors so it's worth a shot. But no, Joerger rolled with Beno Udrih and Carter.
After the game Grizzlies bear writer Ron Tillery tweeted out this:
Griz coach Dave Joerger: "There are times when we look a little bit old."— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) November 3, 2015
THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE GRIZZLIES ARE! They're old. Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Matt Barnes, Vince Carter, and Beno Udrih are all 30 plus. Jeff Green, Mike Conley and Brandan Wright are all 28 and up. There's your whole rotation besides JaMychal Green who is considered a "young guy" because he is under the age of 28. The Grizzlies are one of the oldest teams in the league and it's finally caught up with them.
The problem with playing the Warriors, San Antonio Spurs or even the Cleveland Cavaliers is that they have the Grizzlies figured out. They know what's going to happen and have the tools to completely shut it down. It may be time to recognize that the NBA's best teams have left the Grizzlies behind.
The Grizzlies used to be able to counter all of the things these teams threw at them. Randolph could power through and score over two people, the Warriors couldn't defend to save their lives, the Spurs were a death machine and the Grizzlies still lost to them, but things were different. Now, these teams can score bunches of points on offense then shut down everything the Grizzlies want to to do on that end.
It's not about bombing threes or playing fast paced. It's about being able to score points. You have to score points in today's NBA and the Grizzlies are fundamentally incapable of doing that against a defense that knows what it's doing. Sure, they can take care of the Indiana Pacers or the lowly Brooklyn Nets, but the Warriors held them to 69 points and didn't bat an eye. It looked like they were playing another game.
You're going say "it was just the fourth game", but these were things that were problems last season and the season before that. It's nothing new. It's just magnified because the Grizzlies are old and have been fully figured out by the NBA's elite- a group Memphis once thought it belonged among.
Sure there will be nights where they compete. They'll probably win 45-50 games, but it's time to talk about how the "Grit and Grind" Grizzlies should come to an end sooner rather than later.. It's been six amazing years of basketball and every good thing has to end eventually
It's been the best six year stretch of basketball this city has ever seen. A Western Conference Finals appearance, two second round appearances, three seasons of 50+ wins, two stars playing at a high level consistently at all times, upsets, a rivalry was born, they brought NBA basketball to Memphis in a way that Memphians could identify with, and too many memories to count.
That's why I'm not freaking out like I could be. If it's time for another chapter for the Grizzlies I'll be ready. Even if saying goodbye will be hard to do.
I would feel stupid if I went this whole rambling thing without talking about how great the Warriors are. That's the best team I have ever seen. I wouldn't be surprised if it's the best team I will ever see. I knew I should have dumped my life saving on Warriors +400 to win the title. I'm an idiot.