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EVERYBODY F'ING PANIC! Grizz Struggling, Core Four Out at D.C.

It's been an up-and-down ride since the All-Star break. Let's look at how the Grizzlies can turn things around against a reeling Wizards squad. Oh, and we'll shame the suddenly insufferably negative Twittersphere.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The LATEST

News just broke that Coach Dave Joerger is going to rest the "Core Four" of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, and Mike Conley (who's listed as out with an injury) for tonight's nationally televised game against the Wizards. It's an unexpected, "Popovichian" move by Coach Joerger, and I'm sure there will be more news about this decision throughout the day. Stay tuned to Grizzly Bear Blues for the latest. I wrote the rest of this column before this was announced.

The GOOD

There's never a good time to go into a slump, but March hasn't exactly been kind to rest of the top tier in the West.* The Grizzlies' biggest impediment to a first Southwest Division title, the Houston Rockets, have dropped 3 of 5 since they cheated their way to victory against the Cavaliers after Harden kicked the real King James right in his fellas. Portland has won 4 of 5 in the month, but lost Wes Matthews for the rest of the season in the process. The loss of Matthews, a legit third banana for the Blazers, probably removes them from title contention. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are 3 and 3 in the month with a bad loss to Utah with half the team out, a bad win against the Lakers, good wins against the Rockets and Bulls, and understandable losses on the road to the Pelicans and Celtics. That's right, the C's loss goes in the understandable column because they've been surging lately and they're scratching and clawing for a playoff spot. Remember when Memphis had to do that and they were like a rabid dog trapped in a corner? I'm not saying we didn't blow it last night, but let's keep things in perspective.

*Golden State, as always, is the exception.

Bottom line:

The BAD

The net negative starting lineup thing is starting to get a little bit out of hand. While I was rummaging through Twitter's dark underbelly this morning, the great Rob Mahoney at SI did some real research and wrote this:

Go read that if you want to gain some real insight into what's up with your beloved Grizzlies right now. Or listen to Verno. There's a lot of people talking about it. Something's definitely wrong with the starting backcourt right now, and there's not really any one person to whom we can assign the blame. According to Mannix, it sounds as if Coach Joerger has adopted the philosophy espoused by our own Joe Mullinax on the past few episodes of GBB Live: We need Jeff Green's skillset more than Tony Allen's to win in the playoffs. It's only through volume playing time that this group will finally mesh. Damn the torpedoes, we're pressing on. I've been inclined to trust Joerger's plan to this point, but the evidence is mounting that these five guys can't get along for some reason. Verno brought up the other day that it seems to be the Green-Lee-Conley combo that's causing the most trouble, with Green-Allen-Conley, Lee-Allen-Conley, and even Green-Lee-Udrih all having significant net-positive ratings. If you can figure out why that's the case, then you should probably send your resume to John Hollinger.

The UGLY

Yea, so have you been on Twitter lately? Oh, you haven't? Well, my friend, I have good news. We're witnessing the dawn of a new age of thoughtful, intelligent discourse on the internet. Enjoy these charming dispatches from self-identified members of #GrizzNation:

I'll admit it. I almost posted a single curse word last night too. Then I thought, "Ya know, it doesn't really help anything. I don't feel better after I do it. Maybe I'll do something else."

In case you were curious, @FlyteKyloh was talking about how he was going to make fun of Ben tomorrow. So the reason that Eddy responded this way is between him and God.

Poor Marc and Malik. To Malik's credit, he's bitching about a semi-serious issue: playing down to one's opponent. And after so many miracles this season (SAC, PHI, for example), we're now starting to get burned for letting bad teams stick around til the ends of games. As for Marc, buck up, buddy! We'll get through this! And if you prefer anger to emo, we've got you covered...

There's anger, of course, but there's also righteous anger. Anger that does not accept its lack of appreciation or attempts abet it.

Lighten up, Francis. And finally, my personal favorite: drunk anger.

You know what I have to say to all these Chicken Littles and Negative Nancies? Tell em, Messrs. Johnson and Johnson:

Oh right, we have a game tonight against the Wizards. And the Core Four is out. And the Wizards just went bowling like the Cavs did before they started tearing up the league. This might not go well.

Prediction

Grizz 85 Wizards 96

2015 NBA Season
at
2015:
45-19 (21-12 road)
2015:
36-28 (22-10 home)
March 12th, 2015
Verizon Center in Washington, DC
6:00 PM CDT
TNT / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Beno Udrih PG John Wall
Courtney Lee SG Bradley Beal
Jeff Green SF Paul Pierce
JaMychal Green PF Nene Hilario
Kosta Koufos C Marcin Gortat
2015 Advanced Stats
92.0 (26th) Pace 93.6 (18th)
106.3 (13th) OffEff 104.0 (20th)
102.3 (4th) DefEff 103.1 (10th)