The Memphis Grizzlies’ grand six-game winning streak has come to an end.
On a night where MVP candidate Marc Gasol was given the night off to rest, the already injury-hampered Grizzlies could not hang with the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, falling by a score of 103-86.
Being down Gasol in addition to Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, James Ennis, and Brandan Wright spells a lack of depth for Memphis, who has succeeded recently despite those injuries. But with their leader, were doomed going against the NBA’s elite.
Cleveland gave Kyrie Irving the night off, starting DeAndre Liggins in his place, and still annihilated the Grizz, using a big three of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and JR Smith to carry the load.
To add more injury to insult, Deyonta Davis left the game with a left foot injury to add to the body count for the Grizzlies.
It as a rough night for the Grizz, and there was not much good to take away from this game.
The Memphis perimeter offensive attack is one that looked like the anemic outside-shooting team form past years in this game.
The team shot 4-of-22 from three-point range in this game, which is a dismal 18%.
This was a major difference in the scoring between the two teams, as they had similar field goal percentages, but Cleveland drained 12 3-pointers at a 39% clip.
Memphis had only three players reach double-figures in scoring. Zach Randolph stepped into the starting lineup for Gasol and dropped 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing out 2 assists.
Z-Bo had a very good offensive game and seems settled in after his absence due too personal reasons.
The other two Grizzlies to register double-figures were Andrew Harrison and Troy Williams, who scored 13 points a piece. But both scored an an inefficient rate, which speaks for several players.
Harrison shot only 4-of-11 from the floor and Williams was 6-of-16, and they combined to shoot 2-of-9 from three. The bench trio of Vince Carter, Troy Daniels, and Toney Douglas all had rough scoring nights, combining to shoot 4-of-17 from the floor and 2-of-11 from three.
None had a rougher night than JaMychal Green who, despite grabbing 8 boards, shot 1-of-10 and had only two points in a power forward match-up that in he was dominated in by Kevin Love.
It was a rough shooting night for most of the Grizzlies, resulting in an 86-point dud of an offensive performance.
Cleveland’s modified Big Three
Even without Irving, the Cavs were carried by a set of three players that all dominated.
Kevin Love built on his tremendous start to this season, as he had a big double-double with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Love shot 9-of-17 from the floor and drained 3-of-6 long-range attempts.
He thoroughly dominated Green at the power forward position and looked like the guy that Cleveland traded for with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The King also did his thing.
LeBron James cruised to a 23-point, 6-rebound, 8-assist, and 3-steal showing. He did, though, look sloppy at times with 6 turnovers and was 0-for-4 from three. Despite the dud performance from deep, LeBron was still 9-of-17 from the field.
And JR Smith stepped up to torch Memphis from the outside. He drained 6-of-10 3-pointers en route to a 23-point performance in one of his best outings of the season.
The Bitter Sweet Bright Spot
The young power forwards for the Grizzlies did flash their potential in this game.
Jarell Martin and Deyonta Davis both played well in their limited minutes.
Martin just missed a double-double, with 8 points and 10 rebounds in just 19 minutes. But he did get into foul trouble with 5 fouls, including one horrible charge. He was an efficient 3-of-4 from the field and looked like a piece for the future.
Davis was also efficient. He made all three of his shots and scored 6 points with 4 rebounds in only 11 minutes played.
But it would have been more than 11 if not for a left foot injury that put him out of the game. That is the same foot that Davis had plantar fasciitis in during the offseason.
Here’s to hoping for better health for the youngster out of Michigan State.
Gasol was given the night off in this game because it is the first night of a back-to-back, as they now head home to face this same Cavs team.
Gasol should be good to go in this game and will look to exploit an advantage at center against Tristan Thompson.
The Cavs will rest all of Irving, James, and Love for this game, making it very winnable for the Grizzlies.
Memphis will look to win their seventh game in eight contests on Wednesday, and they rank 5th in the West with a 17-9 record.