The Memphis Grizzlies are likely glad to have the month of February in the rear view mirror. The team went 7-4, which is not a terrible record. But relative to the team's 72.4 winning percentage for the season, February's 63.6 winning percentage is a disappointment.
In fact, February was the second worst month in terms of winning percentage, only trumped by December's 57.1 - a month in which Zach Randolph missed five games.
But beyond the wins and losses, what was most concerning about February was the offensive struggles.
"I've been concerned with the state of the offense," said Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger when asked if he was concerned about his team's offensive production after Friday's 97-79 loss to the Los Angles Clippers.
Before Saturday's 101-97 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Grizzlies had failed to reach triple-digits in eight straight games - the longest such drought of the season by five games.
For years, the Grizzlies have been rightfully labeled a defensive juggernaut that struggled to score the basketball. But this season, the Grizzlies - under the direction of Joerger - seemed to have moved past that old label. The team currently owns the NBA's 11th best offense - their highest rating in over a decade, so that begs the question: Why the recent offensive struggles?
"I mean, it's the same offense we were running before," said Marc Gasol. "Everything looks a lot better when you're making shots, but we've got to play through this."
Mike Conley essentially echoed what his All-Star center had to say, but he did admit that the team does have some work to do.
"I'm not too concerned," said Conley. "I think we have things we need to improve on; we have things we need to work on, but it's not time to jump ship yet."
Conley later went on to say that the timing of the offense is just not where it was earlier on in the season - specifically the effort and energy with off-ball cuts and ball screens.
Luckily for the Grizzlies, effort and energy are two very controllable variables in basketball. It is far from time to push the panic button, but it is fair to be concerned about the way the offense has looked if you're a Grizzlies fan. At times the offense looks like it did when Lionel Hollins was running the Grizzlies - waiting until deep into the shot-clock to even begin initiating the offense.
Over the past several seasons, the Grizzlies defense has covered up for their lack of offensive firepower. But if the Grizzlies want to go from simply being considered a 'tough out' in the playoffs to a true title contender, they'll need their offense to return to what it was earlier in the season. Need proof? How about a 27-2 record for the Grizzlies when scoring 100-plus points.