The four-game home stand started off in horrendous fashion. The Memphis Grizzlies (36-28) lost 122-109 to the Brooklyn Nets (11-51). The Nets don’t just have the worst record in the league, they are flat out horrible. That’s why this is a bigger loss that means more than a “just one loss” mentality.
Memphis has now lost three in a row coming off being swept on a Texas road trip over the weekend. Coming back to Memphis and playing the worst team in the league is exactly what was needed to right the wrongs and continue the playoff seeding fight. However, the team forgot to leave this slump in Texas and brought that same play back home.
As bad of a game as this was, the full-on panic button may not need to be hit quite yet. But, with a massive game coming up against the Los Angeles Clippers, someone in that locker room needs to step up and be a leader. It’s not going to come from the coaches, and it’s not going to come from management. This slump ends with the players.
Right now, everyone is going to their corner without speaking up. A veteran player needs to come out, gather the guys, and knock this losing streak now before there really is a reason to worry.
The only way to quiet the naysayers is to win, and that starts Thursday against a rival playoff team. Beat the Clippers and get back rolling.
To start this game, you would think that the Grizzlies were still in Houston playing the Rockets. The Nets came out firing threes matching the exact blueprint that Memphis struggled with in Houston. They spaced the floor and either shot a three or drove for a layup playing at a high pace.
At the conclusion of the first quarter, the Nets were leading 36-34. That is twelve more points than the Grizzlies normally average giving up in the first quarter of games. Brooklyn went 7-12 from behind the arc, and the Grizzlies were able to match hitting all seven 3s they shot from distance.
In the second quarter, the game was more of an offensive struggle with the Grizzlies playing their best defense of any quarter. Copying more of the Houston blueprints, the Nets did not attempt a two-point shot outside of the paint all second quarter. They luckily cooled off, as the Grizzlies kept pounding to take a 1-point lead going into the half.
The third quarter continued this all offensive game for both teams. Memphis almost took control of the game multiple times by leading at one point by 12. They were so close to putting this Brooklyn team away, but the team just didn’t make the plays on defense. At the end of the third quarter, the Nets went on a 13-2 run to get themselves right back into this game. This game was put on the back of Sean Kilpatrick, who ended up with 23 points on the night.
Even with this questionable effort on defense, the Grizzlies had three point lead going into the fourth. It was at home, it was the Nets, but nope Jeremy Lin had other plans. He had nine straight points in a bizarre fourth quarter rally against one of the top defenses in the league. The game stayed close until a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson dunk (I love writing these guys name out, just to have a “Wait…Who?” moment every time) took the lead and turned the tides for the Nets. After that with 4:15 in the quarter, the game was 105-104, and the Grizz had no response. The game ended on a 17-5 run by the Nets to shock the Grizzlies.
This game was the first game in a long time there was a change in the starting five. We heard Coach Fizdale wanted to change the lineup some and mix and match with the players. Tonight ended up being the night, probably with the mindset of inferior competition. Brandan Wright and Andrew Harrison got the start over JaMychal Green and Tony Allen. I understand Wright, but starting Harrison is curious, to say the least. The decision itself could have a backlash that you do not want in that locker room.
The defense just was not there and that was obvious from the start. Marc Gasol held Brook Lopez in check with points (still had a +15 +/- rating, according to ESPN.com), but that wasn’t enough to help the perimeter defense. This is not the team we are used to.
Also, the Fiz needs to take a second look at the breakdown of minutes from tonight. Toney Douglas played the fourth most minutes and had an abysmal -20 +/- rating. This coupled with the fact the cornerstones of the franchise Tony Allen and Zach Randolph played 17 and 16, respectively.
It had been two days since their last game and three days until their next. Something that will seriously need to be looked at going into the playoffs.
- Brandan Wright finally got his chance to start this season for the Grizzlies. Unfortunately, this chance to show out ended quickly when he picked up his second foul with plenty of time left in the first. It is definitely something to experiment with the team trying to find their groove before the playoff
- Chandler Parsons finally broke into double digits in 22 minutes of play. However, he was still visibly not at 100% percent. Then, with the game in fourth quarter crunch time, all he could do is sit and watch. Say what you will about his scoring, but having him on limited minutes will continue to hinder the Grizzlies
- Mike Conley did everything in this game. He built the lead up to 12, and he kept the team in the game for a huge stretch in the fourth. So, if there is a bright spot from this game, props to him.