Before the game last night, the Grizzlies already knew their playoff fate. They will be the seven seed and once again face the Spurs in round one of the NBA Playoffs. This feeling of contentment showed last night, and will probably have the same effect on the team next Wednesday against the Mavericks.
The Grizzlies lost tonight to the Detroit Pistons 103-90. The night was not a complete loss, as there were some positive things that came out of it. The first was that no starter played more than 25 minutes last night. This is something crucial that will, again, be seen in the game Wednesday. The team needs to be well rested heading into the playoffs after Mike Conley averaged 36 minutes a game in the month of March. A little break from high-intensity action will be good for injuries and season fatigue as well.
A second positive was that the younger guys got some solid minutes together gelling. Every Memphis player scored tonight, which is a positive thing for the future of the team. If the era of the “Core Four” is coming to an end, it’s going to be imperative that these young players take on their role to help raise this team up.
While many were watching The Masters exciting finish, there was basketball to be played in Memphis. Unfortunately, looking at the game as a whole, we have seen this kind of Grizzlies game before.
To start the game, the Grizz were centered around making the three ball work. The team shot 4-8 from three as Vince Carter drilled two of them, turning back the clock as we have seen him do many a time. After one quarter, it was 28-24 Memphis.
The second quarter brought more success for the Grizzlies as Detroit went cold shooting, and the Grizzlies pounded for inside buckets. Memphis got out to a 12-point lead at one point, with the game in control. After the second quarter buzzer sounded, it was 57-48 Memphis.
As the second half began, this whole game shifted for the worst. We have seen this time and time again: when Memphis has a comfortable lead at halftime, the team mentally collapses during the third quarter. Stumbling out of the gates, both teams were turning the ball over back and forth. The Grizzlies committed eight turnovers in a nine-minute span, while the Pistons committed six. The Pistons recovered faster, finally getting things going while the Grizzlies still couldn’t find their way. Detroit outscored Memphis 27-10, and brought a comfortable 75-67 lead into the fourth quarter.
Detroit then held onto this lead with impressive three point shooting, going 5-6 from behind the arc in the quarter. This, along with the Memphis young guys missing everything, lead to the Grizzlies not taking the lead again.
As I said in the introduction, there’s not much to take away from this one because you could see while watching that the focus wasn’t there for the players last night. The match-up was lopsided with neither team playing full strength, so if you are looking for a playoff insight of the team, last night was not where to look.
The Young Guys
Looking forward to the future, the younger guys were able to play and show what they can bring to the table. Recently acquired Wayne Selden led the team with 28 minutes played. He had another poor shooting night, only scoring five points on 2-9 shooting. However, he does have spurts of high energy minutes of quality defense. This is something to look forward to if he can create his shot.
Another two rookies that had average nights, but it was good to see them out on the court nonetheless, were Deyonta Davis and Wade Baldwin IV. The two only had 8 points combined while playing 15 and 12 minutes, respectively, but it was nice to see them out on the court in crunch time of a close game. I believe Davis may turn into a nice athletic big down the road. He shows flashes of footwork down low that really make you hopeful for a positive future from this kid. At least he will be keeping that Michigan State big man pedigree going after ZBo retires.
- Third. Quarters. These have become an issue for the Grizzlies this year, and it is something that must improve or be able to fix before the playoffs. It comes from the coaching staff and player’s mentality, and, because of this, it is the only reason it isn’t something to overlook from this meaningless game.
- Once again Vince Carter keeps shooting the three ball. Yes, he was only 2-3, but in my opinion he is a key to playoff success. Vince could be the spark from three that the rest of the role players can feed off. Mike and Marc will make their impact, but the Grizzlies success will hinge off others stepping up to contribute.
The Grizzlies will finish the regular season off Wednesday in FedEx Forum against the Dallas Mavericks.