The Memphis Grizzlies dropped their second consecutive game on Thursday night to LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs.
The San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies engaged in a slow paced battle on Thursday night.
Neither team broke the 100-point mark and the Grizzlies only had two players score in double-figures. The Grizzlies did do a decent job of containing Kawhi Leonard, but could not capitalize on a good defensive performance as a team.
This was a tricky night for Memphis because they didn’t shoot an awful percentage from the floor (43.6 percent) but they were unable to find ways to put up points consistently.
But when only Mike Conley, and a little bit of Marc Gasol, shows up on the offensive end, it is hard for Memphis to win games, especially against good teams. They need that third scorer. Badly.
When a team lacks an elite, go-to scorer, they must make up for it with ball movement to create good shots.
Memphis did not do that on this night.
The Grizz tallied just 18 total assists and that, while also the product of missed shots, symbolizes that the ball need not move enough to create good lucks on a consistent basis.
And the offensive anchors for the Grizz did not have great nights either.
Conley had, by far, the best offensive night of any Memphis player. He finished with 22 points and six assists, but shot just 7-for-18 from the field. The career-long Grizzly also went just 1-of-8 from three-point range in a performance on offensive that was fairly one-dimensional by his standards.
It did not help Conley that he did not get much help, though. Gasol finished with just 13 points on 15 shot attempts and turned the ball over six times. Memphis needs Gasol to be a playmaker for others at the center spot if his shot is not falling. But this is what happens when he can’t get himself or his teammates going.
Zach Randolph finished with eight points of his own but shot just 2-for-7 from the field in 28 minutes played. James Ennis and JaMychal Green combined to be a decent player but did not get many chances. The two combined for 14 points and 11 rebounds on 6-for-6 shooting.
Vince Carter had a rough night, shooting just 30 percent from the floor. But the vet was 3-for-8 from downtown and provided somewhat of a floor-stretching presence. Carter finished with nine points.
Andrew Harrison also had some good moments, tallying eight points and three assists in 16 minutes played.
But, unfortunately, these scraps of offense were not enough to propel Memphis to victory. They were playing a great defensive team in the Spurs but this level of offense is just not good enough.
LaMarcus Carries the Load
Aldridge took command for the Spurs as their primary scoring option in this game and hit the 15,000-point milestone in what has been an excellent career for the former Texas Longhorn.
He was probably the best player on the floor on this night. Aldridge finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and zero turnovers, in a vintage performance from the 31-year-old. He was also very efficient, shooting 10-for-16 from the field.
Aldridge displayed the offensive talent that has made him so successful. The combination of smooth post moves and a dangerous mid-range game have given him great longevity. He also flashed some rim protection in this game and defended well on the inside.
Leonard was, relatively, contained by Memphis. The MVP candidate finished with 19 points (on 7-of-15 shooting) and seven rebounds. He also performed his usual defensive masterclass. Leonard played second fiddle on the offensive end in this game but certainly still had an impact.
Patty Mills gave the Spurs the third scorer that they needed with an efficient 15 points and five assists off of the bench. The Australian shot 63 percent from the floor.
The presence of that third scorer is what the Spurs had over the Grizzlies in this game, as they were fairly even elsewhere. And it is likely that Memphis will struggle to find a consistent third scorer down the stretch.
The Grizzlies will continue their road trip on Sunday, when they travel to Oracle Arena to take on the Golden State Warriors.
Yes, they will be without Kevin Durant, but that does not make them an easy out by any means. And with the Grizzlies having lost back-to-back games, a win over the Warriors would definitely get them back on track.
The Grizzlies appear to be settling into that seventh spot in the West but with a surge of momentum, they could shoot up a few spots in the standings. A win over the Warriors could kick-start that type of run.
But the offense must improve drastically for a win like that to happen.