2-2 on a midseason homestand, with three 20+-point blowout losses still in the rearview.
There were some easily, easily discerned things that led to the Grizzlies’ demise this game, and some not quite as readily apparent…and we’ve got some locker room audio from Kelley D. Evans, Tri-State Defender writer and friend of 3SOB. Big thanks to Kelley for getting this for us!
It’s hard enough for the Grizzlies to win when Conley is cold/ineffective/in foul trouble, but this game should show us that it’s even harder when he’s out. Bottom line, as we’ve all seen lately, when Bayless is forced to make plays and initiate, things do not go well. When Rudy Gay becomes the initiator, things go (even more?) poorly. On several possessions, Hollins’ faith in Rudy’s ability to get the offense going was rewarded with a sloppily manufactured attempt with low single digits on the shot clock. Overall, the Grizzlies did amass 18 assists on 32 makes-but when those 32 makes come on 88 (!!!) FGA’s, the word “efficiency” goes out the window and becomes a nasty mess on the sidewalk below. Another aspect of Conley’s absence is that TA was called on to participate more in the offense, and 3-9 was the result. Allen has had several good offensive games of late, but this was not one of them. Word from Hollins was that Conley was “likely” to play tomorrow at Philadelphia. Good news, except that Holiday is known for breakin’ the ankles of fully healthy guys…Conley may be in trouble. Not giving Wroten a pass-1 for 7 ain’t gonna cut it, and I’d suspect that he’ll hear from Hollins about that. Here are Mike’s remarks postgame:
Rudy. Oh Rudy. Why must you launch mortar shells into your trade value so? 3-17, 1-7 from three, and spotty defense. Sure, he had a block and a couple steals-but it’s just clear that his head is not in the game. “Odd man out” is sounding less and less weird as time passes. Rudy’s spotty defense also led to a larger problem for the Griz this game-they fouled jumpshooters REPEATEDLY. Several of the guys were guilty, and a lack of team defensive energy is what leads to having to make such halfhearted contest efforts where the wrist/arm winds up slapped. Slow to switch and chase, particularly on drives to the short baseline. Let’s listen to what Rudy said about his and the team’s performance after the game:
He sounds fairly composed, perhaps too composed? It’s easy to forget that Rudy spent his first several seasons in Memphis enduring a colossal amount of losing, and then was hurt during the first playoff season. Could that affect his outlook on the team and how he interacts with it?
Terrible fourth quarter all around. That goes back partially to the absence of Conley’s steadying hand, but there are other guys who are paid to get it done….
Sloppy, uninspired offense, lazy defense, 36% from the field…sounds like a stinker. Those happen. LOOOONNGGG flight to Philly, I’ll bet.