I always prepare myself for the jumpers after games like last night. Losses like that hurt. They pull at some of our darker emotional strings and make us feel pretty crappy. Mornings like today's have coffee tasting bitter, birds chirping sounding like taunts from nature, your lips feeling a little more chapped, and red lights last at least 30 seconds longer. Then you think about the final score from last night and you break a pencil or stub your toe. It sucks.
It can feel like sometimes we don't even know who this Memphis Grizzlies squad really is.
But honestly, I'm starting to get used to this feeling and even guarding myself against it. The feeling is that of a drastic swing from talk of title contention and domination to that of what-in-the-hell-am-I-watching-right-now. It's as if the Grizzlies have no middle ground between mounting an epic comeback on a double-digit 4th quarter deficit and getting blown out to where that same double-digit deficit turns into a 20-point embarrassment. Let's take a look at the numbers.
Memphis Grizzlies losses in 2014-15
|Nov 8th at Bucks||93-92||-1|
|Nov 18th at Raptors||96-92||-4|
|Dec 3rd at Rockets||105-96||-9|
|Dec 5th vs Spurs||107-101||-6|
|Dec 19th vs Bulls||103-97||-6|
|Dec 21st at Cavs||105-91||-14|
|Dec 22nd vs Jazz||97-91||-6|
|Dec 26th vs Rockets||117-111||-6|
|Jan 3rd at Nuggets||114-85||-29|
|Jan 7th at Hawks||96-86||-10|
|Jan 8th at Pelicans||106-95||-11|
|Jan 19th vs Mavs||103-95||-8|
|Feb 6th at Wolves||90-89||-1|
|Feb 11th at Thunder||105-89||-16|
|Feb 25th at Kings||102-90||-12|
|Feb 27th vs Clippers||97-79||-18|
You'll notice that for the 2014 portion of this season the Grizzlies generally kept things close in losses, although only one of those truly came down to the final possession (at Bucks).
The worst loss they had in 2014 came against the Cavs when the Grizzlies were starting Jon Leuer in place of an injured Zach Randolph -- excusable.
But it's now in the year of 2015 where the losses start to look really ugly. In fact, only two of the Grizzlies losses this year have been by fewer than 10 points, and one of those, vs. Dallas on MLK Day, was a late game meltdown on their home court. Outside of the 1-point loss to Minnesota a few weeks ago, the Grizzlies have looked godawful when they have an off night.
Memphis had 8 losses in 2014 with a total differential of -52 points.
Memphis has 8 losses in 2015 with a total differential of -105 points.
Same number of losses, but literally more than TWICE the point differential in those losses.
It's stats and trends like these that will lend a fan base the doubt to start feeling like when the Grizzlies aren't feeling it that they simply start mailing it in. That is, in my opinion, a silly idea to start adopting because the Grizzlies have taken the same nights that they aren't feeling it (recently at POR and at LAC) and end up turning them into wins with superb performances down the stretches.
What's my point?
You might be feeling pretty crappy about the Grizzlies today, but I'm here to take the stance that you're likely feeling that way because of the chart I posted above. The Grizzlies haven't been barely losing games. They've been getting totally thrashed in their losses. My bet is that we'll start seeing a different trend as Memphis starts preparing for the sprint to the NBA Playoffs, but we need to see it sooner than later to get fans at maximum Grizznocity for April/May/June.