The Grizzlies suffered their first defeat of the season against the Mavericks last night, and it was a pretty lackluster effort all around for the Memphis. The Mavericks jumped on the Grizzlies in the first quarter and the Grizz could not find their way back into the game completely, despite pushes to come back in the third and fourth quarters.
Marc Gasol had a really good night, and Conley was his usual solid self, but they did not receive nearly enough help from the bench in order to win the game. In the last two games we have seen a steady decline in the bench’s performance, and they are going to need to get back to the level that they started the season with if the Grizzlies are going to have continued success in the western conference.
Marc Gasol- A-
Marc Gasol was on fire from the three point line, making 4 of his 5 total three-pointers in the third quarter. Gasol was also very active on the boards, which has become a common theme for him this season, grabbing 11 rebounds. Overall, he was active defensively and really kept the Grizzlies in the game on the offensive end of the floor in the third quarter where the Mavericks were getting way too many open looks and capitalizing.
Gasol did his part on both ends of the floor tonight, he just did not have enough help from the supporting cast to carry the Grizzlies to a win.
Mike Conley- B
Mike was good, not great, in the matchup against Dallas.
Jarell Martin- C+
Martin has been playing better than any of us thought he would be playing a couple of weeks ago. For a guy who was on the verge of being cut from the roster, Martin is supplying the Grizzlies with good production and energy on both ends of the floor. The Grizzlies are going to need more than 1 rebound out of their starting power forward, though, and Martin is nowhere close to being a starting-caliber player in the NBA at this point, but he is showing signs of improvement and development.
James Ennis- C
Andrew Harrison- D+
Harrison did some good things throughout the game, making some scrappy plays defensively and converting a crucial and-1 in the third quarter to give the Grizzlies a spark in their comeback effort. However, teams continue to allow Harrison to take open looks and force him to make plays offensively. He is a liability offensively because of his poor three point shooting.
The Bench - D
With Chandler Parsons resting and the same injuries to Wayne Selden, Ben Mclemore, and JaMychal Green; the Grizzlies did not have a very deep roster last night. Not only were the numbers not there, but the players coming off the bench, besides Tyreke Evans, all had poor nights. Mario Chalmers did not give the Grizzlies the scoring punch that they have been getting from him, and Dillon Brooks only took 5 shots in 28 minutes played. Brandon Wright logged 11 invisible minutes, and the bench as a whole got outscored 32-25 by the Mavericks’ bench.
The players mentioned above for the most part have been one of the Grizzlies’ strong points so far this season, they have all come into the game and lifted the team up with great energy defensively and produced offensively at a solid clip. Last night, the bench simply didn’t bring the energy or quality that was needed to help bring the Grizzlies back into the game.
Coach Fizdale and Staff - C+
I don’t really think Fizz is to blame for the Grizzlies lackadaisical approach to the game against the Mavs. I actually think Fizz was engaged the whole game, and kept Marc and Mike on the court for 37 and 35 minutes respectively. The Grizzlies’ ball screen defense was frustrating last night. They gave Dennis Smith far too much time and space with the ball to operate. The Grizzlies also were aloof off the ball defensively, they could not link together enough stops to get back into the game.
It seemed like every time they were about to get back into the game, there was a mental defensive lapse (leaving a shooter, not boxing out their man, committing unnecessary fouls at the rim). Fizdale can take some of the blame for the poor defense down the stretch, but at the end of the day that is on the players to execute the game plan and be locked in mentally. Unfortunately, the team as a whole did not have the work ethic or focus needed to get the win that would have kept them as one of the only undefeated teams in the league.