Don't ask me to explain what happened Wednesday night at FedExForum, because I don't think I can, not really. The Grizzlies got beaten—badly—by the Toronto Raptors at home, and they did so without putting up much of a fight in the final frame. In so doing, they managed to fall to 3-5 on the year the night before they load up and head out West for a four-game-in-six-night road trip that sees them taking on the Lakers, Kings, Clippers, and Warriors before returning home to play the Spurs (again) a week from Friday.
This has the potential to go very badly.
Rudy Gay came back for the first time since the trade that sent him northward last January, and even though he was booed by about 35% of the people in the building when the Raptors' starting lineup was announced—which I thought was in pretty poor taste, if I'm honest, even though I guess I understand the motivations behind it—and then he and his Toronto Raptors, who I'd like to point out aren't a very good basketball team once you get past their starting five, and who are typically an incredibly poor jump-shooting team, proceeded to kick the crap out of the Grizzlies for 48 minutes.
The Grizzlies tied the game at 70 in the third quarter on a brilliant run of steals and transition baskets, mostly sparked by Mike Conley (also known as "The Only Grizzly Who Is Playing Well"), but over the last 20 or so minutes, the Grizzlies again got outscored 33-17 and the whole thing went up in flames.
After the game, Dave Joerger didn't say anything that made me feel especially hopeful, and none of the players sounded like they had any clue why they'd just gone out and gotten housed by Tyler Hansbrough and company. And it made me want to, you know, rend my garments and rub ashes on myself Old Testament style.
It's not time to panic yet, but it's creeping in around the edges, the signs and signifiers of what we're all hoping isn't a lost season. I'll have more on this, to be certain, once I'm not completely slammed. But, for now, just try to carry on about your everyday business and keep the howling fantods of lottery picks and empty FedExForums and burning John Hollinger effigies in the streets at the periphery.