The Grizzlies got beat up by the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon, even without their best players in D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin. They did not play great defense and had even worse offense, but as they were preparing for the fourth quarter, that wasn’t even the weirdest part.
Marc Gasol went out of the game at 4:23 left in the third quarter and did not return at all. The Grizzlies had a stretch where they cut it to five, but Marc Gasol never entered the game. It left a lot of us wondering if he was hurt, but it turns out he wasn’t. Fizdale said after the game “We had just been playing so bad up until that point, that group was the group that seemed to get anything going for us, so I just rode it. It’s a long season, 82 games, we were struggling. I just wanted to see if that would keep the momentum going, it didn’t work.
The Grizzlies at their best right now (haha) are made up of four players (JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol, Chandler Parsons, and Tyreke Evans) who can score the basketball and contribute on a nightly basis. The Grizzlies held out Chandler Parsons for precautionary reasons related to his knee, so in the second half to this game, the Grizzlies had three players that can score points. For Coach David Fizdale not to play Marc in the fourth quarter and then say it was because he wanted to win just doesn’t make sense.
Why would you not play your best player in a scenario where the team had the deficit down to five points? Even if you thought that was our best chance to win, why even go down that road and create tension? I don’t know if David Fizdale is a good NBA coach; there is still a lot left to be determined. He has weird lineups sometimes, questionable lineups, and can even get out coached at times. So why on this night, sit your best player and then hope that the players with hardly any offensive skill would get you back in the game? Even if you are going to lose that game, what good does it do to send some kind of message to one of your franchise players in the midst of an eight game losing streak?
That was odd, to say the least.
And it got even weirder once Marc started his post game presser. He was clearly ready to talk. Marc said a lot of things after the game but most importantly,
"If I start venting, that would be counterproductive. But at the end of the day, I'm as competitive as anybody. I hate not playing, that's what I value most. If I'm not out there, I'm not valued. I'm sure they knew that would hurt me the most."
Marc saying that he isn’t valued is even stranger and saying that that they knew sitting him would hurt him the most?
Marc also said-
"I mean, anyone wouldn't like it, right? You don't put Mike back in? I'm sure they wouldn't do it to Mike. I don't know. It's just the way it is. You have to deal with it. But I'm not just gonna lay down and take it."
Marc clearly needs help on the court, the players that are available are just not getting it done. The relationship between Marc Gasol and Coach David Fizdale is perhaps strained and getting stranger, even with public accounts that things are fine between them. Clearly comments like this from both of them make it harder to say that everything is OK.
Maybe everything is fine, maybe everything isn’t, I don’t know, but words from Gasol like that sure don’t make it seem that way.
This team has a lot of problems and they are probably not going to get better anytime soon. Having a coach and a player seemingly be petty to each other in public isn’t the way to solve them either.