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Woe Is Memphis: Another 20+ Loss at Home as the Warriors Win 107-84

The Grizzlies are in big trouble after losing two matchups against the league's best- company they once claimed to keep.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It Was a Cold, Dark Night...

Cold, rainy, gloomy, depressing weather has returned to the Memphis area and apparently seeped into the FedexForum. Two days ago the Grizzlies had front row seats to the Cavaliers’ 111-89 walkthrough and tonight they got the same VIP access to the Golden State Warriors’ 107-84 cakewalk. It’s tough, maybe even impossible, to find any meaningful positives to take away from these two key matchups. Key not for any playoff implications or risk of losing personnel in the offseason, but because the Warriors and Cavaliers are far and away the top dogs in their respective conferences. Memphis leashed both of them up earlier in the season but it’s officially crunch time when even the most casual of NBA fans know the good teams start turning up and turning in their best imitations of what they’ll bring in the midst of April showers and May flowers.

From the last two games, and much of the entire month of March, it appears that the current showers and overall gloomy weather may be here to stay. Losing by 22 and 23 points to the NBA’s elite isn’t necessarily a sign of the apocalypse…for most teams. But when it happens on your home court and you consider yourself a part of that elite group, this is what Greater Memphis now looks like to every Grizz fan:

Is that the Forum over yonder?

Things weren’t looking like ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ for the first half. Grizzlies fans are well-conditioned to handle a slow start and Memphis was only down 54-49 going into the locker room at half. Actually, the Grizzlies were winning the battle of the boards and shooting better from the floor at that point. On normal nights (I could say good nights but the team is 50-22 and normal should equate to good at this point…) the Grizzlies come roaring back onto the floor for a dominant 3rd quarter on their way to a victory. But when Golden State Steph Curry and Klay Thompson had 6 threes and 8 field goals in the 3rd, a sense of dread rolled in. The visiting team’s 31-16 3rd quarter trouncing set the tone for the rest of the game and the Warriors’ lead just kept growing to the 107-84 finish.

It’s not like Memphis played at an all-time atrocious level of basketball though. It goes without saying that the Grizzlies have turned in far worse performances than 45% from the field and 39% from three and still walked away with another W. But their problems tonight were deeper and far more criminal than just shooting form- we witnessed an outright act of identity theft. Who stole the Grizzlies’ identity is a question for another day, but there’s no doubt that tonight the Grizz played this game lost and spiraling.

Every elite team has a unique set of standards with which they compare their nightly performances. For Golden State the acceptable level for 3pt% is miles above your truly average team. Similarly, for the Grizzlies the acceptable level for turnovers and rebounds are at unique values. So while 19 turnovers (to the Warriors’ 14) and 40 rebounds (to the Warriors’ 43) might not send the jets scrambling for truly average teams, it does for Memphis. And the airport runways are busy tonight as the team turned in a mediocre performance, as defined by the team’s own standards.

All Hope is Lost?

Aside from shooting the ball, Memphis was completely out of sorts in most every other aspect of the game. They finished with those 19 momentum-killing turnovers and got beat on the boards AGAIN. Golden State converted on almost every single one of those turnovers and got 32 points in all from Memphis mistakes. And there’s just no excuse for a team that’s viewed across the league as a premier rebounding and paint dominating force to get out-rebounded by the Cavaliers and then Warriors. No one should have, at least on paper, the personnel to battle the Grizzlies on the glass- especially in the Forum. Taking care of the rock and grabbing boards is who the Grizzlies are. But tonight they played like an average NBA team in every way. They had league-average shooting (which is above average for Memphis on most nights) and went neck-and-neck in total rebounds. That’s OK for the Miami Heat or Milwaukee Bucks, teams that define average in the Association. But this was supposed to be the year Memphis finally got over the hurdle and had a shot at a trophy.

As mentioned before, there are no positives from this type of performance- especially in the context of Wednesday night’s destruction. The only sliver of hope for the Grizzlies fan base right now is the possibility of coach Joerger secretly reverse tanking and doing everything in his power to avoid a first round Spurs matchup. Because at this point, that’s about the only thing that makes me shudder more than watching the Grizzlies play lately.