If every Grizzlies loss feels like it’s the size of Alaska right now, well, that’s because each one is *at least* that size. Especially ones that were oh-so-winnable.
Counting seven is not particularly pleasurable regarding a game like this one, but we still gotta do it…
Thing one: It’s perversely impressive for a team to hold an opponent to 36.6% from the field and still, to quote Jack Eaton and a million others, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but the Grizzlies did it, and knew how to do it-play reach-y defense and fail to score at opportune moments (don’t mean just the last possession, either). I’m a big proponent of defense, as 3SOB co-founder Josh Coleman will tell you-but scoring is, well, uh, a necessity. It’s as plain as the proverbial nose that the Grizzlies have to play a turtle-on-seconal pace to have the best chance at victory, but holy mackerel.
Thing two: Hmmm…opposing team’s first three makes include two threes. Not good. Opposing team’s darned talented PG makes mincemeat of your otherwise-rock-solid defense all night. You just tangled, in intensely rivalrous (hey..my made-up word for the day!) fashion, with the Clippers the previous night. It’s easy to feel the balloon start to deflate…unless…
Thing three:…you JUST KNOW that every loss counts double or triple, especially with the Mavericks winning YET AGAIN this night. Will the injuries and resultant rust fatally wound the Grizzlies’ playoff hopes?
Thing four: The Grizzlies have proven their ability to win close games and to come back after being down in close games. The team’s inability to close this one out (along with another factor we’ll discuss momentarily) makes an uncomfortably loud statement about the durability of the squad (especially the three starters who have sustained more-than-minor injuries this season) when the schedule gets tough. Which, by the way, it will be from here on out.
Thing five: That other factor: turnovers. Sure, everyone knows (and on another occasion, might be entertained by) Charlotte’s much-increased defensive prowess over previous seasons-but this game made the best example of how slow pace with fifteen turnovers gives the other team *just enough* extra possessions to bury you. No Grizzly had an egregious number on his own-none more than three-but when it adds up to fifteen and the opponent only has eleven…
Thing six: Thirty-four points and a much better shooting night (13-for-19) by the Grizzlies’ bench, as opposed to the starters, not one of whom shot 50% or better from the field. It’s easy to make it a mantra-the Grizzlies put a ton of juice into finishing that Clippers game, and it showed. Trust me, no excuses are being made for the team-I’ll not say that it is justified or should be expected that the team should react in this manner on the second night of a b2b, but that’s what happened.
Thing seven: Can we at least discuss starting TA and Lee? Can we?
Sorry this is a bit short, finishing a move this weekend and Daddy is as outta juice as Conley looked when he missed that final pair of threes….