Welp, the slide continues for the Grizzlies as they lose again 104-92 to the Denver Nuggets. It is the seventh straight loss for Memphis in this disastrous stretch for this team. The wheels have completed come off.
This streak is the longest losing streak Memphis has had since a seven-game skid from November 1st to November 11th, 2009. It has brought Grizz Nation to question everything they thought about this team only a few short weeks ago when they gazed at the Grizzlies at the top of the Western Conference standings. Perhaps they were just overachieving, or maybe this is really who they are. Either way, the team has to figure out this funk as they slip further down the standings.
Now, to team grades.
Mario Chalmers- C
Mario Chalmers started the game slow once again. He looks off in every part of his game compared to the league competition he has seen since Conley has been hurt. The Nuggets are a team whose strength is not their backcourt rotation. Chalmers should not have had a problem adjusting to this early on.
He could not adapt to the pick and roll offense Denver threw out there time after time. Later in the game, Rio (finally) hit some crucial 3’s which helped with the almost comebacks in the second half. Unfortunately, they were not enough to stop this Nuggets team. Even though the Mike Conley shoes are hard to fill, Chalmers has got to facilitate better if the Grizzlies have any shot at stopping this losing streak.
Dillon Brooks- C+
Dillon Brooks is the kind of player that is hard to get mad at. He tries to do everything you want, plays 35 minutes, and is still promising for the future. However, he did not have enough on the offensive production to tip the scales in the Grizzlies favor. Brooks had another 7 point night with not much else to show on the stat sheet. He played a closing role in the 11-0 run the Grizzlies put together in the third quarter, but nothing else happened from him. The rookie shows signs of great defense every game. If he can just channel this for a complete game, his full potential will be seen.
Chandler Parsons- C+
Parsons fell back into the mold of having a subpar game Friday night. If you look at Twitter, you see real concern he may be falling back to overpaid Chandler. However, this could have just been an off night for Parsons. Personally, I thought he still looked athletically sound, which is a feat coming from the injury last year. He still is shooting the ball well, but at the same time, this puts a lot more pressure on him than he once had coming off the bench. He is now slotted into this lead role again- that takes time to adjust. With that being said, the real question is what will he do with this expectation on him now.
JaMychal Green- B-
JaM had the best night of anyone, chalking up 21 points on a perfect 9-9 shooting from the field in 32 minutes played. It was the energy that needed to be transferred to this team for the whole game. It was a heavy load coming off an ankle injury, but Green looked ready to take this role on. Even with a strong offensive showing, the team was outrebounded 50-23, which falls on both Green and Gasol. Kenneth Faried showed out grabbing 9 boards in Paul Millsap’s absence.
Marc Gasol- C+
Gasol had a peculiar double-double last bight. He had his 15 points but instead of rebounds, he had 14 assists on the night. On a normal night Gasol would have been praised for the ball movement, especially against essentially his younger self Nikola Jokic. However, as mentioned, the team was completely outrebounded which pretty much negated the positives coming from those assists. And, speaking of the Joker, he had 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists while scoring 14 of the Nuggets 28 fourth-quarter points. Gasol was dominated by Jokic Friday night, and there is no way to sugar coat it. He is going to have to take some major responsibility for this one even if the Joker is an elite center.
The Bench- C+
The bench Friday night only consisted of Jarell Martin, Deyonta Davis, Tyreke Evans, and Ben McLemore. Coach Fiz finally shortened the lineup up playing 9 guys Friday night instead of stretching the lineup pulling in guys who should not be playing. It is a definite improvement, as injuries have taken away the real depth on this team.
Overall, Tyreke still contributed 15 points which were about right given his resurgence this season. McLemore is still getting his legs under him, putting up 9 points on the night. It would have been interesting to see a defensive switch for Davis to guard Jokic. As Jokic is still far and beyond the skill level of Deyonta, it would have been an interesting wrinkle to see his athleticism be used on Jokic, especially as he took five 3’s this game.
The takeaways from this game give a lot of concern for the future of this team this season. It is seven straight losses with a roster who can not afford them. Even as I was hopeful just two games ago, seeing this team play with the guys they have is giving me great concern. Fiz is going to have to change a lot of things within the roster to get back to the season the team was having only one short month ago.