Things just went from bad to worse for the Memphis Grizzlies after their 101-94 loss to the Detroit Pistons. The game was miserable on all fronts as the Grizzlies give up yet another second half lead, but no one was prepared for the scene after the game ended.
It all started with some speculation among media members as to where head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was. Normally, he is quick to the media press conference after the games. A 10 minute wait turned into 30 minutes before Bickerstaff finally came out to the press to answer questions of what just took place. GBB’s own Mark King was among those to ask Bickerstaff about what happened back in the locker room.
JB Bickerstaff post game press conference https://t.co/EBNaKouynx— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 3, 2019
His explanation was that it was “a conversation that needed to be had that stays between those of us that were in the locker room.”
Bickerstaff went on to say that it was “larger issues that was the conversation that was needed to be had. Right now, it is not X’s and O’s that needs to be resolved. I think we resolved some of those issues tonight.”
The main take away from his comments were not just the comments themselves, but the way they were being delivered to the media. Bickerstaff looked flat out defeated from what just happened during the game and then the carryover into the locker room. His body language did not do him any favors if he was still trying to exude confidence in the situation.
Marc Gasol post game part 2 pic.twitter.com/OqxVpMgY8s— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 3, 2019
When the media was let into the locker room, other players weighed in to the night’s drama. Marc Gasol was at first diplomatic in his answers saying that the team needed to come together, and the problems come from losing. Then, he openly talked about being vocal around his teammates even if it based in criticism. “[Being more vocal] is needed. Guys expect that. And working on not being that critical with my teammates because in the past it created some problems, but now it will change a little bit.”
Mike Conley post game after the loss pic.twitter.com/I22MSUNpeK— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 3, 2019
Mike Conley, who injured his shoulder around the 8-minute mark in the first quarter, was next to speak on the matter as he called the post-game conversation “productive and not the first talk they have had this season.” He closed it out by giving similar comments as Gasol saying that losing creates this type of negative attention.
Finally, after all the fireworks of coach and player reactions, The Athletic’s Shams Charania had this tweet to stoke the fires even more.
The Memphis Grizzlies' emotional team meeting after loss to Detroit tonight turned physical in an altercation between veterans Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi in locker room, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 3, 2019
If this reported dust-up between Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi did indeed occur, and it will surely never be confirmed, it is not a great look for this Grizzlies team. From the body language of Bickerstaff and the reactions from Marc and Mike, this report makes sense as the possible major event that was different from just a normal team discussion.
Off-court issues are not what this team needed at this point in their season. They are falling down a slippery slope hovering around a complete free fall. It is probably only going to get worse from here on out, but one thing from tonight’s comments stands true. Winning cures all, and boy do the Grizzlies need a win.