The Memphis Grizzlies finished their final preseason game of the 2013-2014 seasons with a loss to the Houston Rockets 92-73. The Grizzlies shot a season low .319 from the field (22-of-69 FG). Many fans who left FedEx Forum tonight went home scratching their head wondering what happened to the team that was in the Western Conference Finals last year. Mega star and minority owner Justin Timberlake was in attendance tonight as well, and I’m sure he was wondering as well. The question now going through Grizzlies fans heads is: Is it time to panic? Let’s hope not.
After the game, Head Coach Dave Joerger looked more disappointed than frustrated about the loss but realized there’s still work to be done before the season opener against the San Antonio Spurs. “Some of the things were a little hard to take, some of the trends throughout the preseason have been a little bit difficult to take but it is definitely a growing process for us” Joerger said. From that quote, it feels like the players are trying to learn the new offense as quickly as possible. “It’s not only a one hit, one way street we have to run back on defense a little bit better and do less gambling” Joerger said about his team’s defensive performance tonight. I expect Joerger and his staff to use the next couple of practices to develop this team into a regular season mode before getting on the plane to San Antonio.
After the two lopsided losses against Toronto and Houston, the Grizzlies are now receiving a wakeup call. From the players’ prospective, tonight was a disappointing loss but they understand that they can get this team on track before October 30th. Players such as forward Quincy Pondexter wanted to let the fans know that it’s the preseason and will find a way to fix it. “Its basketball, sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way…I have all the confidence in the world in this team” Pondexter said.
The Grizzlies would end tonight’s loss with 21 turnovers and only going 2-15 from the 3 point line. These are stats that have made Grizzlies fans very infuriated. “We shot 14% in the first quarter and that probably won’t happen again” Randolph response on what is not working for this team offensively.
Marc Gasol led all scorers with 17 points (4-of-13 FG) as well as eight rebounds. “It’s still a work in progress…we put some things offensively ultimately is going to become a habit” Gasol said on the team’s performance. Marc seemed frustrated at times throughout the game even getting a technical foul when having a confrontation with Rockets center Dwight Howard.
Tayshaun Prince returned to the lineup tonight after dealing with a stomach illness. The return wasn’t as great as fans hoped. Having 0 points and 3 rebounds, Prince looked like he was low on energy and trying to keep up with the pace offensively and defensively. I can accept that since he lost 12-15 pounds due his stomach ailment but hopefully he gets better and will be ready to perform against San Antonio.
Overall it seems like there needs work to be done for this team. Offensively, the Grizzlies still need help on outside shooting. Pondexter, Jerryd Bayless, Mike Conley, and Mike Miller can’t carry all of the weight from 3 point range. Defensively, the grit and grind defense will be back but a matter of when. I believe Joerger and his staff will spend the next 4 days to get this team ready to be in grit and grind mode.
Just remember Grizzlies fans: it’s the preseason. Plenty of teams start the preseason horribly and fix it immediately once the regular season starts. Are there concerns? Yes, but those concerns will be fixed throughout the season. So is it time to panic Memphis? No…it’s time to Believe Memphis.