As far as debuts go, this is one Chandler Parsons and his Grizzlies teammates would probably like to forget. A tough loss in Memphis against the Portland Trail Blazers is nothing to be ashamed of, but opportunities were missed on both sides of the court for the Grizzlies.
The Memphis Grizzlies had another slow start at the beginning of this game. They had 5 turnovers in the first quarter, but good production from players like Vince Carter and Tony Allen kept them in the game, leaving the Grizz down only three at the end of the period. CJ McCollum, however, got off to a fast start with 10 points in the first quarter alone.
In the second quarter, Zach Randolph tied things up at 31 with a three pointer. The Grizzlies finally gained the lead after two Conley free throws just midway through the second quarter, and a Conley three to beat the buzzer put Memphis up 51-47 at the half. The Blazers shot well from three in the first two quarters, as they were 8-17 from beyond the arc.
As the game went on, Memphis’ team defense tightened up. The Grizz had 9 steals total and forced 15 Blazers turnovers. However, in terms of one-on-one defense, Memphis didn’t do so well, as they were unable to contain CJ McCollum.
After Marc Gasol had been giving mediocre performances as of late, he had an impressive game against the Blazers with 21 points.
The Grizzlies opened up to a ten point lead (63-53) with around 8:30 left in the third quarter, but the Blazers cut it quickly down to 1 and regained the lead, 74-73. However, Memphis held a slim 1 point lead at the end of the third and opened up with another 10 point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
...But the Blazers came roaring back, and the Grizz found themselves down 98-92 with three minutes to go. After two Conley free throws, Memphis was still down 4 with two minutes left. A couple of poor empty possessions by Memphis resulted in a second loss in a row, 100-94.
While Memphis won the rebounding battle, they shot only 38.3% from the field.
Undoubtedly, the star of the game was CJ McCollum, who had 37 points, including 6 three pointers.
While many of Memphis’ players did step up tonight, it wasn’t enough against McCollum’s offensive barrage paired with a strong Lillard performance. In addition, having no production from Parsons hindered Memphis, and their sloppy possessions at the end of the game sealed the victory for Portland.
Chandler Parson’s Disappointing Debut:
Chandler Parsons made his much anticipated debut against the Blazers, and there were a lot of lofty expectations from fans. Parsons was the Grizzlies’ most impressive free agent acquisition over the summer. His presence alone should help spread the floor more for players like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. However, coming out of the gate it was extremely obvious that he was still rusty and trying to get into game shape. He played 21 minutes, and was a depressing 0/8 from the field. I wouldn’t put too much stock into this first performance, though. He obviously needs a few games to get back into shape and into his groove offensively.
Conley Versus Lillard:
It’s always fun to watch these two guards face off. After Mike Conley’s 30 point performance on Friday night against Chris Paul, Conley had to face another top NBA point guard in Damian Lillard. Though offensively Conley was quieter yesterday, he still had a solid game, including a sweet three to beat the buzzer before halftime. On the night, he had 16 points, 7 assists, and 2 blocks. Having Parsons on the court helped to spread the floor for Conley and give him more open shots. However, Lillard had an impressive performance of his own with 19 points, including 11-11 from the line.
Tony Allen Rediscovering His Groove:
There has been some concern regarding the Grindfather’s lack of production since returning from injury, but he finally appeared like his old self yesterday. He came out more aggressive and attacked the rim. He was much better on the defensive end as well. Tony Allen actually entered the locker room in the second quarter with an apparent hip injury but reentered the game in the third quarter with a baseline three and had an impressive second half and had 11 points.
The Grizzlies finish up their home stand Tuesday night against the Denver Nuggets, who are 3-3. Memphis will be facing an athletic beast in Kenneth Faried, as well as former Grizzlies Darrell Arther, Jarnell Stokes, and Mike Miller. The Grizzlies will have home court advantage in this one, and it’s important for Memphis to finish their home stand strong before they head on the road for four games.
Quotes of the Game:
"My knee feels fine, which is obviously awesome." -Chandler Parsons— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) November 7, 2016
"Keep playing, the game comes to you, he knows that," Gasol on Parsons' rusty debut.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) November 6, 2016
"We're fighting for consistency right now. We have to keep working until we get a high level of consistent play" -Coach Fizdale— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) November 6, 2016