The Memphis Grizzlies visited the Sacramento Kings on Monday night and came out with a loss, 91-90. Memphis was on the back-end of a back-to-back after a loss on Sunday to the Warriors. The Grizzlies were without Marc Gasol for a 2nd game in a row because of a left foot strain. This is the Grizzlies’ 4th loss in a row, and 9th in their last 13 games.
The first half was very close, despite the Kings having the lead for the majority of the time. The Kings’ biggest lead in the half was just 6 points, and they held the lead until the tail end of the 2nd quarter where the Grizzlies and Kings traded baskets to end the half 51-49. Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 12 points.
The second half was a different story. The game didn’t seem as close as it did in the first half. The Grizzlies couldn’t hit shots in the 3rd quarter and that trend continued in the 4th. The Grizzlies had 23 more shot attempts than the Sacramento Kings and yet still made the same amount of shots. That is a recipe for a loss, as well as wasted opportunities.
The end of the 4th quarter was a lot tighter than how distraught the rest of the 2nd half felt. The Grizzlies had a one point lead with 5 seconds left until a questionable foul on Darren Collison was called against Andrew Harrison, giving the Kings free throws and the win.
The Grizzlies didn’t lose this game on one call. Let’s review how the Grizzlies let this game slip by.
When the Grizzlies have tough games, it often fits the the same description. Mike and Marc play well, but the pressure of the entire offense on them fails when they can’t both produce.
Marc Gasol was out for this game, so the only onus was on Mike Conley to be both the scorer and the creator. The Kings are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, but this still wasn’t a good night for him. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how bad a defense is, if they know only one person can score, they will be sure to stop that one person.
Mike Conley had to do it all on his own with Gasol out. Zach Randolph got the start but had a below-average shooting night(5/18) despite putting up a double-double. Conley couldn’t do much himself as he put up 22 points of off 23 shot attempts. An inefficient night from the two best available scorers really doomed the Grizzlies to a loss.
The Grizzlies most likely won’t find someone on the roster to all of a sudden become a 3rd scorer for them, but as we head into the playoffs the Grizzlies are going to need role players to step up consistently on offense if the Grizzlies are going to have a chance in the first round. The bench combined to shoot 11-for-29 and looked out of sync and impotent all night.
The Grizzlies as a team struggled as a whole offensively. The Kings are 24th in the league in Defensive Rating and 27th in opponent eFG%. That seemed to not matter against the Grizzlies. Memphis shot .344/.192/.793 from the field and free throw line on Monday night. An embarrassing performance against a weak defense.
The Grizzlies dominated the offensive boards in this game. They had a 19-8 advantage in this game as was expected; the Grizzlies are often the more physical team and they’re a top 10 offensive rebounding team.
But those offensive rebounds were just extra opportunities, not guaranteed points. Those rebounds don’t matter much when the team can’t cash in on them. Granted, the Grizzlies’ offensive rebounds may have been inflated to how many shots they were missing, but they needed to take better advantage of it.
As mentioned above, the Grizzlies had a 23 shot advantage over the Kings on Monday. If the Grizzlies had a consistent offense going, this would be enough to win this game going away, but clearly they didn’t and those missed opportunities were a main reason.
When one call or play determines a game’s result towards the end, it never really is the only reason a team lost. When a game ends in a 1-point margin, you could point to a plethora of plays and insist that if they had gone differently, the team in question would have won. That what these offensive rebounds are for the Grizzlies in this game. That call on Andrew Harrison may have more directly lost the game, but the Grizzlies wouldn’t have been in that position if they had converted more of those 2nd chance points off of boards.
The Thunder won by 1 point on the same night that the Grizzlies lost by 1 point. Unfortunately, the standings don’t care about margin of victory/loss, so the Grizzlies lose another game to the Thunder, back 2.5 games from the 6th seed.
The Grizzlies host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. This will be the 2nd and final meeting between the two teams after the Pacers beat the Grizzlies 102-92 in Indianapolis.
If the Grizzlies don’t want to be stuck in that 7th seed, the Pacers game might be a good time to snap the losing streak.