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Film Review: The Grizzlies struggle to guard the 3-point line in Portland

Prepare your eyes.

The Memphis Grizzlies allowed the Portland Trail Blazers to make 15 of the 30 three-point shots they took last night. Most of that came from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum who combined for 11/17.

Here's how they were allowed to get going on the perimeter.

There's a lot going on here, and things can get funky when cross-court passes occur, but Damian Lillard is left wide open here because of a poor decision by Mike Conley. McCollum swings the ball to Meyers Leonard who then easily takes Zach Randolph off the dribble. That causes the interior defense to react, and unfortunately Conley thinks he's an interior defender in this sequence.

Once Leonard starts dribbling towards the rim Conley reacts and closes on the paint to guard... Mason Plumlee? But wait, you've already got Marc and Tony down there (the two best defenders on the team) and Mason Plumlee literally only took 6 shots from that area last season.

So Conley decides to try and box out Mason Plumlee, purely a threat at the rim, over Damian Lillard, a guy shooting over 40% from three so far this season. Leonard swings the pass to the pleading Lillard and not even swift Mike can close this gap.

Earlier that evening...

The other half of Portland's back court, C.J. McCollum, was apparently of little concern to Courtney Lee.

Unlike Conley, Lee actually never looks back to check on McCollum once the Blazers start their PNR.

A Grizzlies guard is again more concerned about Mason Plumlee's non-existent mid-range offense than the 3-pt shooter he's been assigned. And not to take away from what the Blazers did here, Lillard makes a great hockey assist to Leonard on the baseline who then has wide open options of either Al Faruq Aminu (slight threat) and C.J. McCollum (definite threat). Leonard makes the right pass, and Courtney Lee is positioned too far away to close on the shot.

There's a half dozen other examples very similar to this from last night. After the loss Mike Conley talked about how the Grizzlies were not on the same page defensively. Sometimes it's hard to see what page they're on individually.

The Grizzlies seem content to not prioritize 3-point shooting for themselves, but they'd be very wise to shore up their defense so they can limit the rest of the league's 3-point agenda.

Video and screenshots courtesy of