Some see it as a loss, some see it as a win.
The Memphis Grizzlies lost to the Phoenix Suns 97-95 Thursday night at Talking Sticks Resorts Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. The score may not have gone the Grizzlies way, however, as many people have realized to this point, losses are better for the Grizzlies draft position. Even in late December, the conversation is being held. This game against the Suns was a big matchup against a team that knows “tanking” very well.
The first quarter opened up just as you would expect from these two teams, with sloppy shooting and a lack of defense from either side. Memphis got up to a quick lead on the Suns on a team that looked to be sleepwalking through the first half of this quarter. Inside basketball was the strategy that was working for the Grizzlies until they went cold, especially from 3, later in the quarter. Also, ex-Grizzly Troy Daniels had a little revenge game that has to be one of the biggest negatives from this game. He hit two 3’s in this quarter to help the Suns on their run to get back in it. Phoenix led Memphis 26-25 through 12 minutes of action.
In the second quarter, the Grizzlies struggles from the outside continued. They shot 2-12 from 3 in the first half while the Suns shot 6-10 from beyond the arc. Also, the inside presence completely vanished during the second quarter in this one. The Suns scored 34 points in the quarter, and 18 of those points were layups around the rim, not to mention a few of those resulted in and-ones. Because of this, the Suns got out to a 60-51 lead going into the second half.
The third quarter gave GrizzNation something to look for in the future. That came in the form of Kobi Simmons again getting minutes in another NBA game. He checked in to play a few minutes in this one, also some down the stretch in the 4th. This is what a tank is all about - letting your young talent either blossom or show they aren’t ready for the League. Simmons had a pesky steal and layup which was a positive in a quiet career thus far with the team. This quarter also just exploited at how bad Chalmers looks in any competitive minutes he gets. Simmons needs to keep cutting away at Chalmers minutes to get a better look at him with Conley still out.
What is there to lose?
In this quarter, the Grizzlies made a nice little run to get back in this one scoring 30 points. They have nice third quarters this season, so it was nice to see them get back to that. Strong third quarters usually go to the coaching staff. To some, this run was not the way to play this game, but seeing the fight in this team is a good sign. Grizzlies lead the Suns 81-79 through three.
In the final quarter, both teams went back to their sloppy play. The shooting percentages put up in the 4th were abysmal from both sides. Memphis only scored 14 in the final quarter. This may be the signal that tells us which direction the team is thinking. It was some bad basketball. So, if you are a playoff hopes apologist, this quarter hurt. Not only did the team choke away a winnable game, but Troy Daniels of all people drilled the game-winning 3 to put the Suns up. Absolutely brutal. After a bizarre final two possessions from each team, the game ends. Phoenix wins 97-95.
- This game is a pretty big win if you are on the L’s For Luka/tanking train. Phoenix will be a team that will eventually be around the bottom of the pack when the season is all said and done, so any losses against them are big. At this point, it’d be a near miracle for the team to make the playoffs with this roster. The last few games have been entertaining without winning. It seems to be what is best for this franchise.
- Troy. Daniels. Tanking or not, seeing Troy Daniels flourish on the opposing team should be sickening to everyone associated with this franchise. We have seen this too many times before with players getting a kick start and looking great outside of Memphis. Troy Williams with Houston and now Troy Daniels in Phoenix. Memphis let TD go and now are stuck with a poor man’s version of him in McLemore. Player development is a huge question mark for this franchise.
- JaMychael Green finally made an appearance!! I have been waiting for a game like this since he has been back from injury. Thursday, he went for 12 points and 10 rebounds. It was a simple JaMychal game that he needs to make this team competitive. Hopefully, he can gain momentum from this performance and build off of it for the rest of the season.
- Yeesh. That 3-point shooting percentage was awful. 5-26 for 19.2%. That is not promising no matter what direction this team is headed.
Up next for Memphis is the Los Angeles Clippers back home on Saturday night.