If you ever wondered what this team would look like without the Memphis Grizzlies All-Stars Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, last night was the night to witness that. The Grizzlies would fall to the Brooklyn Nets 97-88. Saturday’s loss snapped Memphis’ three-game winning streak against the Nets.
Zach Randolph would not play due to an ingrown toenail. Last nights game was the first time Memphis played a regular season game without both Gasol and Randolph since Randolph joined the Grizzlies at the start of the 2009-2010 season.
This is the Grizzlies fourth consecutive home game loss, their longest home losing streak since losing eight-in-a-row at home from Feb. 5-March 6, 2010. This arena known as the Grindhouse seems to be fading away.
The Nets came in with a good game plan of attacking the paint knowing Gasol and Randolph would not be playing. Another strategy Coach Jason Kidd used well was letting his best perimeter shooters have their shots. Joe Johnson led all scorers with 26 points (9-of-15 FG); his second highest scoring output of the season, sixteen of his 26 points came in the first quarter.
The Grizzlies throughout the game showed bad body language throughout the game. It looked at times in the first half they were looking to throw the towel. Luckily many key players came into play and sparked some energy for this Grizzlies team.
After Memphis cut Brooklyn’s lead to one with 9:41 left in the fourth quarter (75-74), the Nets went on a 21-6 run to take a game-high 16 point lead with 2:43 to go in the game.
“We were just too far behind. Without either of the two bigs you’re going to need to put up big number by a wing…You’ve got to get a big performance from some of your wings. I thought our bigs filled in admirably” Coach Joerger on playing with team effort
Quincy Pondexter made his return after two consecutive DNP-CD’s (Did Not Play Coaches Decision). Pondexter would lead the team with 20 of his regular season career high 22 points (8-of-12) in the second half. The return would also produce 14-straight points for the Grizzlies bridging the third and fourth quarters.
Coach Dave Joerger said after the Houston Rockets loss he is looking for playmakers on this team. Well coach I believe you found one of them last night and his name is Quincy Pondexter and everyone agrees he should be playing more.
Right now this team is searching for its team identity without Gasol and it seems it’s going to take some time.
“The identity is ever-changing without Marc [Gasol] and without Zach [Randolph]. It doesn’t really matter who you have playing. We should be able to get on people defensively; we should help each other and be very active in trying to do those things defensively although the offense may change at times. We doubled the post tonight for the first time after Lopez got going. It’s just hard sometimes things are going to have to change without other guys in there” Joerger said.
This team has some very important home games coming up and need to find a way to defend the home court. If Joerger can’t defend his home court and find a way to get his team to believe in his philosophy then things could start to look troubling in Memphis and fans will begin to hit the panic button.