The losing streaks stood at eleven.
The Grizzlies entered the night teetering on the brink of making history and tying the longest losing streak the team has ever had. The Minnesota Timberwolves came into the game 14-10 and had added much needed veteran players to their roster before the season. It’s difficult to stay positive sometimes in the long season that is the NBA, but it is a hundred times harder when you haven’t won a game in forever.
The Grizzlies started off well in the first few minutes of the game going three for three on the first three possessions of the game. That stopped pretty quickly once Jimmy Butler realized that Ben McLemore was guarding him. They were being aggressive early, getting the ball into the paint and getting easy buckets but they had a hard time stopping Jimmy Butler.
After that, Bickerstaff tried to use Andrew Harrison to guard Butler, but that did not go well either. Jimmy Butler had twelve points in the first quarter. The Grizzlies got stops at the end of the first quarter that led to great offense on the other end. Jame Ennis was able to get out in transition and score points. This was the best offense the Grizzlies had and even after Jimmy Butler scored twelve in the first quarter, they till had a four point lead.
The Grizzlies had much better energy to start this game than they have had in some of these past games. James Ennis continued to shoot the ball well, knocking down a three pointer early in the second quarter. Deyonta Davis played a good stretch will giving Marc a rest. The Grizzlies continued to play good defense and Tyreke Evans was getting to the rim whenever he wanted. Jarell Martin and Andrew Harrison got in the scoring column with Martin attacking the basket and Harrison sinking a three pointer.
The Grizzlies hung with the Timberwolves, but needed more from Marc Gasol. He had only taken two shots in the second quarter with only two minutes left in the half. They did a better job slowing down Jimmy Butler and were getting good minutes from all of their secondary players. They were able to maintain the lead even when Marc Gasol was not shooting or sitting on the bench. James Ennis and JaMychal Green helped lead the offense, getting great defensive stops and transition points on the other end. They were able to take a 56-53 lead into halftime.
The Grizzlies started off the third quarter with back to back threes by Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans. Dillon Brooks started to be even more aggressive, getting to the right sports and hitting shots when he was open. They had a great mix of Gasol getting open, taking shots and other players scoring points when they were open. That is something they have been missing for a while, secondary players scoring the basketball and being able to create or maintain leads without needing Marc Gasol to take shots.
The Grizzlies got out to a seven point lead mid way through the second quarter. Their good play slowed towards the end of the third quarter and they started to settle for jump shots instead of continuing to attack the basket. The Grizzlies fell into a slump for a few minutes and shot a bunch of threes in a very short period of time, but they were able to get a few stops and score in transition like they had done the entire first half. Deyonta Davis had another great small run for the Grizzlies, blocking another shot and scoring several baskets in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started with the Grizzlies playing better defense, which created easy offense for them on the other end. Deyonta Davis continued to get in on the scoring party and Jame Ennis finished a full court alley oop to give the Grizzlies a five point lead. As good as they were on defense when the quarter started, they were equally as bad as the quarter when on. They were struggling to find people on rotations and Mario Chalmers was having another rough fourth quarter. There was six minutes left to go in the game and the Grizzlies took a timeout to regroup, down two points to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Andrew Harrison came in for Mario Chalmers out of the time out for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol was able to get to the free throw line several times in a row and help the Grizzlies maintain a one point lead. The Grizzlies stopped scoring in transition and started looking to slow down the offense with only a few minutes left in the game resulting in some very bad looks down the stretch. They had a great defensive stop with Tyreke Evans getting a steal, forcing the Timberwolves to foul. The Grizzlies finally got back into the win column after eleven straight losses, beating the Timberwolves 95-92