The Memphis Grizzlies followed up their best win of the season over the Clippers with, perhaps, their messiest win of the season on Friday night in Dallas.
The Grizz extended their winning streak to three consecutive games, defeating the struggling Dallas Mavericks by a score of 80-64.
While the defense in this game was very good, the offense was not good at all. The lack of ball movement and flow was troubling, and something that coach David Fizdale will need to address as the season moves forward.
A win is a win in the NBA and you will take them however you can get them, especially on the road. But when looking at this performance by the Grizzlies, one can comfortably say that it is one that would not have been good enough to beat most teams in the league today.
Less than Desirable Offense
The story for the struggles on offense can be directly tied to ball movement.
The Grizzlies had only 16 assists as a team, which is even lower than their season average of 19.9, which is good for 23rd in the NBA.
With no ball movement, the Grizzlies, or any team, struggle to find any quality shots. But that issue is amplified in the case of the Grizz, because they don’t have one guy who they can just throw the ball to and ask to get a bucket.
Perhaps Chandler Parsons can be that guy, once he gets in the swing of things. Parsons, who played in his first game back in Dallas, led the Grizzlies in scoring tonight...with a whopping 12 points. But he did do it on 4-7 shooting and 3-5 from 3-point range, so he was efficient.
Mike Conley, who has been playing out of his mind lately, was held to only 8 points on 2-7 shooting, with only 3 assists. When Conley is on and taking full command of the offense, the Grizzlies are at their best. We’ve seen Conley go toe-to-toe with Chris Paul twice this year, and arguably get the better of him both times in their individual match-up.
The big man duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined to shoot 9-24 from the floor, good for 21 points and 11 rebounds between the two of them. Ball movement might have harmed their ability to get easy shots, but shooting that low of a percentage for a front court is not gonna cut it.
Tony Allen was, surprisingly, a bright spot on offense. In only 18 minutes, “The Grindfather” scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting and gave a lift to the Memphis bench.
JaMychal Green led the team in plus-minus at +21. While he only had 6 points, Green led the team with 12 rebounds and played with great energy on both ends.
If the Grizzlies’ offense was bad, then the Dallas offense was absolutely horrible.
The Mavericks shot 29% from the floor and had nine team assists. NINE.
The Grizzlies defended well across the board, locking down everyone and forcing the Mavs to resort to bad shots off the dribble.
Harrison Barnes, who has gotten off to a scorching start thus far, led Dallas with 15 points on a putrid 5-17 shooting from the floor.
The Grizz also held Wesley Matthews to 9 points and 3-10 shooting and Seth Curry to 11 points on 4-14 shooting. The only other Maverick to post double-figure scoring was newly signed Jonathan Gibson, who scored 11 points in 20 minutes off of the bench.
The Mavericks were without Dirk Nowtizki, Deron Williams, and JJ Barea, which is big for their offense. But the fact that the Grizzlies held an NBA team to 64 points is remarkable, while also shutting down one of the hottest players in the league in Barnes.
The Grizzlies have seized some early-season momentum, advancing to 7-5 and grabbing 3 wins in a row.
But this win had to show flashes to fans of the putrid offense that they have seen in past years, the offense that drew so much criticism. This offensive performance was horrific. But luckily, they were facing a depleted Maverick team that fell to 2-9 and is one of the worst teams in the West so far this year.
Next up, the Grizzlies will aim for their fourth straight win at home against the Timberwolves on Saturday night.
This will be the second meeting of the year between the two clubs, with Minnesota blowing out the Grizzlies 116-80 earlier in the season.