What looked to be another promising outing turned into an abysmal loss very quickly.
For a sport in which one game’s performance does not prove very indicative of a team’s true ability, tonight surely did manage to bring out all my worst fears in the Grizzlies. Memphis has struggled with injuries and leadership/identity issues for two seasons now, and tonight highlighted these concerns in a way I was not prepared to handle this early in the season.
With an 8-point lead coming out of halftime, the Grizzlies fell victim to the racy spirits of a young Sacramento team. Appearing to make solid halftime adjustments, the Kings began to run Memphis out of all their set plays on offense. Quick hands and lateral movement disrupted the focus of nearly every Grizz player, however surprising that may sound coming from one of the worst defensive units in the league. The pace began to ramp up exponentially and I assume nobody on our team had the mind to slow it down. I say this because we would have been able to impose our will on Sacramento if we so had chosen to (go watch the first half of the game!) The Kings hit a run and absolutely nobody on our team took control. Even before Gasol went down with the shoulder injury, instead of attempting to calm storm he was leading the pack in bickering to refs about soft calls- a Marc Gasol tradition like none other. He had several attempts to right ship, while we were still in a close game, but rather took the time to complain every touch he received, returned to defense in a lazy fashion, and then started to flop like fucking Blake Griffin (!!!) What kind of example are you sending to JJJ?? I hope you seriously are ok, but Marc what the hell was that 3rd quarter? Entire fault cannot be lain on one person though, because Conley and Bickerstaff are just as equally responsible. Those three are the leaders of our team and should do a better job of handling pressure against a non-playoff team. Conley was spotted frequently running away from Fox when he possessed the ball, something that simply should not be happening for a veteran like himself. Bickerstaff ran away from a game plan that had been effective through two quarters; Why stop? Run some plays to get Jackson good looks down low. We did a very good job of this right out the gate; Again, why stop? Jackson will look underwhelming and quite frankly will not improve his post game if you simply attempt to have him face up and back down large foreign bodies such as BJelica.
Overall, just bad strategy across the board for our team. Everyone knows the Kings do not beat you, you beat yourself. That was certainly the case tonight, and should be viewed as a learning experience for this freshly put together squad. I sense a big bounce game come Saturday against another bad team in Phoenix.
Please get healthy Marc.