The Grizzlies faced the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. The Jazz were riding a six game winning streak, a streak in which they were averaging 117 points a game and playing the best basketball of their season. Memphis, however, was on an opposite trend, having lost four straight, scoring just 82 points Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks (aka the worst team in the league). Wednesday night’s matchup would prove more of the same for the Grizzlies.
The first quarter mimicked the Atlanta matchup. Memphis scored just 16 points through the first 12 minutes (compared to 15 versus ATL). There wasn’t much to report. The Grizzlies shot zero free throws and went 7-25 from the field. Gasol led the team in scoring through one quarter with nine points, and the quarter ended 21-16 in favor of the Jazz.
The second quarter was an improvement, reminding the audience that this was an actual NBA game. The officials also reminded the audience of their presence, calling way too many fouls on both teams. The quarter went back and forth, with the Jazz maintaining the lead but never running away with it. Their hot scoring streak came to an end, thanks to inspired defense by Memphis, but also just poor shooting.
Dillon Brooks struggled from the field early, going just 1-8 in the first half. Memphis was a combined 15-42 for 37% in the half and were down by five again, 44-39. Marc Gasol (13) and Andrew Harrison (11) were in double figures, and Ricky Rubio (16) was showing out for the Jazz.
The Memphis Grizzlies foul the most of any team in the NBA. Just watch one quarter of any game and you’ll see proof of that. The third quarter was more proof, with Dillon Brooks recording two personal fouls within the first 1:20, ultimately leaving the team without fouls to give by the 8:30 mark. Since it’s my job to accurately report facts, Mario Chalmers entered the game at the 4:36 mark in the third quarter, when the game was tied at 58. An inspired effort brought the game back within reach, but the Grizzlies could never grab the lead.
Chalmers checked out with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter, the score was now 80-72. The fact of the matter is that the team struggles on both ends to compensate for his significant flaws on both ends. The fourth quarter was entertaining to say the least. Though the basketball didn’t improve, JB Bickerstaff got involved. Bickerstaff was given his first tech early in the fourth, and received his second minutes later. Coach Bickerstaff was ejected at the 7:43 mark, see what he said below.
Here's how Bickerstaff got his first tech from Marc Davis:— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) February 8, 2018
"Hey Drew- ignore him. I'm tired of this, man. Ignore him. Keep playing."
"...for saying 'ignore you??'" pic.twitter.com/2dPlc4z0DT
"That's embarrassing, you're a fucking embarrassment" says JB Bickerstaff to official Marc Davis after being ejected— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) February 8, 2018
Just for good measure, Dillon Brooks was also thrown out with 23 seconds left in the game, because why not? Two late threes with time expiring made the game look a lot closer than it actually was.
Quality nights by Andrew Harrison (23) Marc Gasol (20) kept the Grizzlies in this game. Rubio (29) had it going on for the Jazz, playing one his most efficient nights of the season, and extending the Jazz win streak to seven games. Memphis ended the game shooting 41% with 15 turnovers. The season record is now 18-36, and Memphis will face the OKC Thunder on Sunday.