Memphis Grizzlies vs Denver Nuggets recap: Mile High Massacre

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There is no witty or clever way to lead into this, last night was just a beating. What can you really say about losing to a subpar team by nearly 30 points? Chalk it up to a bad night all around, and move on to the next one.

Coming off a hard fought win in Los Angeles against the Lakers, and the second night of one of the hardest back to back trips in the NBA, the Grizzlies offense and defense seemingly folded under the strain. Uneven officiating didn’t help matters any, but the Grizzlies did themselves no favors.

For the sixth game in a row, the Grizzlies were without starting power forward Zach Randolph, who has been sidelined with a sore and swollen knee. Shortly before game time, it was learned that the team would also be without backup point guard Beno Udrih. Udrih, whose role on the team might be slightly understated, was something of a scoring threat Friday night against the Lakers, with a total of 16 points in 16 minutes of playing, and 3 assists, on 6 of 7 shooting from the field and 4 for 4 from the stripe.

Nick Calathes would step up in the interim, but his scoring effectiveness was not comparable to the performance we saw from Udrih against the Lakers. Calathes closed the night with 4 points and 5 assists, and an abysmal 2 of 9 shooting. Suffice it to say that the Grizzlies missed the presence of Beno Udrih, and all of Grizz Nation hopes to see him back in action Monday night against his former team, the New York Knicks.

Once again, the lack of consistent three point shooting came back to bite this Grizzlies team, hard. Two made three pointers out of 14, a blisteringly awful 14.3% 3FG for the game.

Vince Carter was ice cold from beyond the arc, going 0-4 from 3, and Courtney Lee wasn’t much hotter, shooting 1 of 2 from three. The only other three point make for the Grizzlies came in the final minutes of the game from new draftee and rookie Jordan Adams. In fact, the play of Jordan Adams in those last few minutes of the game might be one of the only bright spots of the night.

The first half started off going downhill, and it just kept going further and further down, culminating in the 3rd quarter ejection of Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger, who racked up 2 technical fouls in a matter of seconds. In Coach Joerger’s defense, he was standing up rightfully for his team, having watched the refs overlook two consecutive fouls on Mike Conley. Assistant coach Elston Turner took over coaching duties for the rest of the game.

Even notoriously cool headed Marc Gasol got ruffled after taunting from rookie Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic. For a minute, it looked as though that exchange would go beyond just words, with Zach Randolph rising off the bench, ready to come to Marc’s aid, but former Grizzlies power forward Darrell Arthur smartly ushered the young Nurkic away and back to the Nuggets bench. I maintain that was the smartest play from Arthur all night long. And just like that, Nurkic joined Steven Adams on the list of players I’d most like to see meet up with ZBo in a dark alley.

We could keep talking about the many things that went wrong for the Grizzlies last night, but I’m trying my hardest to block those memories out. Instead, let’s take a minute to reflect on the few good things.

Like Vince Carter dunking all over Jusuf Nurkic in the way that truly only he can. Say what you want about Carter’s struggles with consistently shooting the 3 ball, but even when he’s having an off night, he can still throw it down. Go on with your bad self, Mr. Carter.

Or seeing a few solid minutes of Jordan Adams doing things, good things. I have to hope that we will see Adams picking up some more minutes after that showing. Maybe stealing some from Quincy Pondexter, who was the only scoreless Grizzlies player last night? Pondexter’s struggles this season have been well documented, so I won’t rehash them here.

All in all, this was a hard loss, no matter how you look at it. Let’s hope a day off to rest and regroup will help, and that we see a much stronger performance Monday night against the Knicks.
Final score- Memphis- 85, Denver- 114

Aimee Stiegemeyer
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One comment

  • Well written article. I almost fell off the couch with that Zbo meeting in the dark alley.Keep the articles coming.