The Memphis Grizzlies played the first game of a back-to-back on Friday but their effort indicated they were already looking forward to the back end.
A rejuvenated Mavericks team relied on their young players to topple the Grizzlies whereas the Grizzlies relied on their oldest players.
The difference ended up being a clear athleticism disadvantage for the Grizzlies and a loss during a critical part of the season.
Both teams struggled to start the game. After 5 minutes in the first quarter the score was only 6-5. The Grizzlies and Mavericks are both good defensive teams, but it was a slow start nonetheless. Thankfully, both teams picked up the scoring pace and the quarter ended 22-20 in favor of the Grizzlies.
Chandler Parsons came out aggressive in the first quarter. He was 2-5 from the floor in the first and played solid defense in his first game back in Dallas.
It was more of the same in the 2nd quarter. The game was still neck-and-neck as no team had a lead larger than 4 throughout the whole first half. However, the Grizzlies had poor defense and let the Mavericks take the lead going into halftime, 54-50.
The 2nd half is where the Mavericks started to pull away. They were able to extend their lead to double digits, leading by 13 at one point, by executing and taking advantage of porous Memphis defense.
The Grizzlies struggled to defend the pick-and-roll all night long, and the Mavericks took advantage. The interior defense between the two teams were polar opposites in the 2nd half, particularly the 3rd.
Nerlens Noel was protecting the rim excellently, while the Grizzlies bigs were struggling to defend layups without fouling.
The Mavericks continued to add to their lead in the 3rd until Zach Randolph showed his old self on this flashback friday. Z-Bo ended up scoring 10 of his 24 points in the 3rd quarter.
The Grizzlies were able to chip away at the Mavericks lead in the 4th quarter, but they simply couldn’t get close enough. The game was in reach, but a technical foul against David Fizdale with 46 seconds left in the fourth all but put it away.
Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol are the only players that can consistently create offense on this team. It’s hard enough to have an efficient offense with only three consistent offensive players, but it’s even harder when all three can’t produce.
Marc Gasol had a bad game. It doesn’t mean his talent is completely gone to a Monstar from Space Jam, it was just an anomaly. But the game highlights the problem with these Grizzlies. On any given night, the Grizzlies already struggle to get points (20th in Offensive Rating), so when Marc Gasol can’t produce, other players need to step up.
Other players did not step up.
Mike Conley, Randolph, and Gasol scored 30, 24, and 13 points respectively. The rest of the team only scored 33. Being able to take some of the scoring pressure off of these 3 will be important in this playoff push, and this game was a reason why.
Chandler Parsons hasn’t been able to fill this role for the Grizzlies quite yet. Parsons (7 pts, 3 reb 3-11 FG) might just need to finally start producing to alleviate that pressure.
Lack of Athleticism Evident
The Dallas Mavericks wiped the floor with the Grizzlies athletically. The Grizzlies just could not move side-to-side fast enough to contain the Mavs. Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry were able to run pick-and-rolls over and over and over and over and over again.
Zach Randolph had a great game. He was one of the few Grizzlies to show up offensively. The defensive end of the floor is where the problems were. The Mavericks ran pick-and-roll against Zach Randolph any chance they could. Randolph does a lot of things well, but defending high screens is not one of them.
The younger Mavericks really exemplified this problem. Nerlens Noel, Harrison Barnes, and Yogi Ferrell were a lot more explosive than anything the Grizzlies could offer.
Nerlens Noel had a fantastic game that should prove encouraging for Mavs fans. He was altering shots on the interior and was extremely active on the boards.
The lack of athleticism was even more noticeable on the perimeter. The Grizzlies had no match for Dorian Finney-Smith, Seth Curry, Barnes, or Ferrell. They were all able to blow past their defender with regularity, and it made it far more difficult for the Grizzlies to protect the rim.
- How did James Ennis only play 4 minutes?
- The Grizzlies were outrebounded 45-39 by the worst rebounding team in the league.
- Nerlens Noel is a monster.
- With the Oklahoma City Thunder loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday, the Grizzlies remain alone in the 6th seed in the current playoff race.
The Grizzlies look to split their back-to-back with a win tomorrow night on the road against the Houston Rockets.