Tonight we saw the Grizzlies take on the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis. At least we saw what was left of them. This team is absolutely ravaged by injuries, as Memphis only had 8 players suit up for the contest tonight. To make matters worse, it was announced before the game that Tyreke Evans, play-making magician extraordinaire, would not play with the team while a potential trade is being worked out, leaving the Grizz without a true playmaker.
The first quarter started a theme for the way this game turned out for the Grizzlies, offensively they were getting most of what they wanted, hitting threes and attacking the paint. Harrison and Brooks did a good job of getting close to the basket early on. Despite a few turnovers early in the game, Memphis was doing a good job of hanging tough with Indiana despite missing so many key players.
Being so shorthanded, one thing the Grizzlies needed to avoid was getting into foul trouble, but unfortunately they didn’t take that message to heart. They fouled Pacers center Myles Turner a few times early on and the issue started to snowball from there, the Pacers were into the bonus with over 3 minutes left in the first.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams never leading by more than five points. One thing that Memphis did well was attack the basket, especially when Myles Turner was on the bench. Turner is a big and athletic shot-blocker and the difference in how the Grizz went straight to the rim when Turner was out versus when he was on the bench was very noticeable.
Despite lacking a true playmaker tonight, the Grizzlies did a good job in terms of ball movement, they moved the ball well and it started with Marc Gasol. He brought the ball up the court numerous times and directed a lot of their offense. Now what I’m about to say may sound contradicting to that last statement, but stay with me. While Memphis displayed good ball movement, the passes themselves were pretty bad. There were far too many sloppy, lazy passes that got deflected or taken away by Indiana.
The combination of Gasol, Brooks, and Selden carried the Grizz in the first half as they went into halftime down by just two points, 53-51. For all the disadvantages that Memphis faced, they did a good job at staying in the contest and it’s always nice to see that this team doesn’t give up no matter what they’re up against.
The third quarter was a quarter of missed opportunities for Memphis. After holding breakout star Victor Oladipo to just 6 points in the first half, he scored 11 in the frame. Indy went on a lightning-fast 9-0 thanks to a few threes from Bojan Bogdanovic and the Pacers led 64-56. Memphis started to have issues fouling again and continued to be careless with the ball, turning it over six times in the quarter. The Pacers entered the fourth period with their largest lead of the game, 84-75.
Now this is were things got interesting. Memphis came into the final quarter with their largest deficit and battled their way back into the game, mostly off the back of Wayne Selden, who put on a clinic from downtown, where he was 6-10 for 24 points. Selden was able to give Memphis the lead 101-100.
WAYNE SELDEN JR GIVES US THE LEAD— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) February 1, 2018
That is where everything went horribly, horribly wrong. I’m not one to normally complain about officiating, but the refs were consistently missing calls all game. Indiana took 31 free throws to Memphis’ 15. Indiana got a lot of ticky-tack fouls called their way while to get the Grizz to the foul line they had to practically get mauled.
With just under five seconds left, Selden drove the ball into the paint and attempted to toss up a layup, where he was clobbered by three Pacers.
No Whistle?.... pic.twitter.com/hnf1SGi3hj— FOX Sports Grizzlies (@GrizzliesOnFSSE) February 1, 2018
Grizzlies players and coaching staff alike were furious. Selden got a technical and ejected from the game trying to plead his case. To give a technical and toss a player with 0.7 seconds left should never happen. The refs took control of the game and handed it to Indiana. Make no mistake, the Pacers played well enough to win the game on their own, but it should have never finished the way it did.
Either way, Memphis lost tonight 105-101 and they have to move on fast, they head to Detroit tomorrow night to take on the Pistons.