The Grizzlies had lost three games in a row for the first time since, oddly enough, December of 2013. They'd fallen to the Bulls at home on a Jimmy Butler game, at the Cavaliers by a LeBron game and then lost at home again to the outstretched pterodactyl arms of Rudy Gobert.
The Grizzlies loss to Utah on Monday, at home. They were then in Memphis all week until playing the Houston Rockets, again ... at home.
That should have been plenty of time to get things together, right?
Not so much. The absence of Zach Randolph due to a knee injury was taking its toll on the Grizzlies; they looked soft. The physical presence of Z-Bo would be missed once again as the Grizzlies started Jon Leuer in his place.
This game really had it all: James Harden B-lines through the paint, James Harden FT's, Corey Brewer and Jason Terry splashing from outside. Dwight Howard didn't even foul out or get ejected.
One of the most egregious layers to the game was Memphis allowing Josh Smith, first game in a Rockets uniform, to go wild. It started with this one early:
No one was more frustrated in this one than Tony Allen. The Grindfather would eventually foul out, but not before racking up a patented Tony-Allen-Bench-Tech after observing a no-call foul from Dwight Howard on Marc Gasol:
There's nothing more demoralizing than having to take your anger out on a towel. It's just not satisfying: it makes no sound, gives no resistance and doesn't go very far when you kick it.
Remember when I mentioned James Harden earlier as I said this game had everything? I forgot to mention Tayshaun Prince guarding him for much of the evening with Tony in foul trouble.
The Grizzlies caught Harden on an MVP night. He got the calls. He made the shots. He stirred the pot.
This game went into overtime so obviously the Grizzlies mustered some magic of their own. Marc would lead a charge in the second half, including a pull-up 3 right in front of Dwight Howard.
And when times were tough and things looked grim, Vince Carter was not afraid to launch from across the street:
The Grizzlies even had a chance to win the game in the final second of play, but even with as complete a game as Marc Gasol was playing, Big Spain and the Grizzlies had already run through their fumes by the end of regulation.
Then it just got a little embarrassing in overtime as the Grizzlies scored 7 points to the Rockets 13. During the final minute of play, down 2 points, in what would be their final lunge at making this a game before playing a pointless FT game with the Rockets, the Grizzlies would encapsulate exactly what the entirety of this game really felt like despite the late heroics to push it to overtime:
Oi. It was this kind of game that would lead Dave Joerger to decide the team needed more playmaking – understandably so – and play a role in the Grizzlies trading for Jeff Green.
But most importantly at this point in time, this game would mark a 4-game losing skid for Memphis right after coming off the incredible high of a huge win over the Golden State Warriors and the now-infamous triple OT game against the Spurs. We also didn't really know when Zach Randolph would be back (he'd return on January 9th).
The Grizzlies still held an impressive 21-8 record, however, and things would really pick up for Memphis in January. And that's right where we'll pick up next for another Season High for the 2014-15 season. Stay tuned!