Grizzlies Fall to 3 Seed With Loss No. 3
The Grizzlies head back to Memphis after falling to the Spurs 103-89. With their third straight double digit loss the Grizzlies fall to the three seed behind Houston. Despite double digit scores from Gasol, Randolph, Lee and Jeff Green the Grizzlies could not find a way to stifle the Spurs.
Vince Carter was given the start over Jeff Green in the wake of Tony’s absence due to a hamstring injury suffered against the Warriors. Green scored 19 coming off the bench, giving life to the game. The remaining bench would score 13 total points, coming from Koufos and Udrih, and while Conley recorded 3 steals his 2/11 was not the offensive presence the Grizzlies needed to walk away with a victory.
The first half was a struggle. The Grizzlies shot 40.5% to the Spurs 45.8% and were -6 in rebounds. They had committed 7 turnovers that led to 6 Spurs points. Marc Gasol only scored 2 total points on 1/6. A bright spot for the Grizzlies during the first half was that Zach Randolph was balling. He shot 60%, scoring 12 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. He had energy, he had grit, he had grind, and he had heart.
Memphis owned the third quarter. That’s right I said that Memphis came out at halftime and played their hearts out. They outscored the Spurs in the third by 5, heading into the fourth quarter down by 4. Watching the game I thought to myself, “We have chance here. All we have to do is keep getting stops.” Then Kawhi Leonard happened. Leonard scored 15 straight points for the Spurs, culminating in a 3 with 7:37 left in the 4th that, let’s face it, felt like the dagger. While he wouldn’t score another point in the 4th his 15 point run was answered with only 9 points from the Grizzlies and it wouldn’t get any better. The Spurs scored 33 points in the 4th quarter, shooting 72.2%.
What can we take away from this game? While this game was yet another loss, the Grizzlies looked at least a little more energetic and their “try” was more evident. The defensive presence of Tony Allen was without a doubt missing. When Marc Gasol plays aggressively and takes shots, it’s good thing for the Grizzlies. In the second half Gasol landed 6 of 9 shots and scored 14 points. Marc is going to need to find a way to perform at that level if the Grizzlies are going to have a shot at winning in the tough West. Courtney is going to have to find his shot again, he went 0/3 from the 3-point line, and continues to struggle offensively. With that said, he did shoot 50% in the second half, where the Grizzlies were finally putting up a fight.
The Grizzlies have 8 games remaining, 5 at home and 3 on the road. They are also coming up on a 3 day break in their schedule. Besides another match up against the Warriors the Grizzlies are not scheduled to face another high seeded opponent. Let’s hope for a Golden State team that wants to rest and that the Thunder and Pelicans aren’t fighting for the 8 seed when we host them. I am happy to make the playoffs. However, making the playoffs as a 2 seed and having the coveted home court advantage through the first 2 rounds is more than ideal. The Grizzlies are now only a half game behind Houston and if they don’t win the division and take the 2 seed back, will find themselves knocked down to the 4th position behind Portland who, short of some insane run by the Thunder, will win the Northwest division.
Today the Grizzlies will host the Kings in a must win game. If the Grizzlies plan on finding their stride heading into the playoffs it needs to start now. Seeding is at stake and it’s time to get back to the Grit ‘N Grind.
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