Sunday, December 8, 2013

Game Notes: Grizzlies 82, Warriors 108

Posted By on Sun, Dec 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

It would have been surprising a month ago, but the Grizzlies missed Ed Davis against Golden State.
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • It would have been surprising a month ago, but the Grizzlies missed Ed Davis against Golden State.

For the first time since 2010, the Golden State Warriors beat the Grizzlies Saturday night, and boy did they beat them. Of course, one can argue how fair the fight was to begin with. Still without Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies were also missing Tony Allen to a hip contusion suffered Tuesday against Phoenix, and missing Ed Davis to a left ankle sprain suffered Thursday against the Clippers. To make matters worse, Quincy Pondexter left at halftime with a "right midfoot sprain," leaving the Grizzlies without two starters and two rotation players—and in Gasol and Allen, missing two of the big reasons they're able to beat the Warriors every time the two teams play.

Game Notes

— It's the same story as the Clippers, and a story that we're going to see over and over again until Marc Gasol returns: without Gasol in the game, the opponent is able to use their biggest, longest defender on Zach Randolph. Thursday it was DeAndre Jordan. Saturday it was Andrew Bogut (instead of David Lee, from whom Z-Bo steals lunch money every time these teams meet at full strength.)

— The lack of Allen and Pondexter meant far too much playing time for a monumentally bad Jerryd Bayless, who has struggled all year outside of the two games against Boston. Bayless was 0-11 from the floor (0-2 from 3) in 25 minutes, with a rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Going to the advanced numbers doesn't make it look any better. Bayless has been off all year—at first because he was being used as the only backup point guard, and now because he can't hit a shot to save his life. One hopes that the poor shooting will improve and get closer to his career averages at some point, but it hasn't happened yet.

— I thought Jamaal Franklin should have played more last night. The Grizzlies were down double digits for most of the second half, and Bayless clearly wasn't getting it done, so why not? If the game is already mostly out of reach—and I get that an NBA game is never really out of reach before the last few minutes, but... the Grizzlies had nine players—and you have a rookie shooting guard who probably won't do any worse than the guy who is shooting 0-11, what's the risk? Why not play Franklin and see what happens?

— Steph Curry didn't hit a shot in the first half, but finished with 22 points. Remember when the Grizzlies drafted Hasheem Thabeet instead of him?

— The injury bug has decimated this Grizzlies team right now. With Gasol out, Allen out, Davis out, Pondexter out, and Z-Bo still struggling with his toe injury, the team is having to play lineups that were never intended to play 25 minutes together for 25 minutes. Against the other teams' starters. I think Calathes/Bayless/Miller/Leuer/Koufos is okay, but probably not against Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin, you know? The Grizzlies have got to get healthy. Like I tweeted last night, it was already going to be a challenge for them to go .500 without Marc Gasol. Losing other players left and right to injuries while Gasol is out makes that seem like Mission: Impossible.

— I'm not sure where I'd put the Grizzlies' playoff odds right now, but sitting 9-10 having already lost to every team in the division at least once, they're certainly a lot worse than most observers thought they would be at any point this season. Remember back in August when the Sports Illustrated NBA preview came out, and they projected the Grizzlies to finish ninth in the West, and Grizzlies fans were surprised by that (this author included)? In hindsight, it doesn't seem as crazy. Without Marc Gasol, this team just isn't as good. The offense without Gasol is mostly ugly (and especially without Gasol and without the Ed Davis P&R sets that were starting to work so well against Phoenix and L.A.) and the defense, especially on the interior, is terrible unless Kosta Koufos is on the floor, and even then, that's only one good interior defender. It's becoming clear that the Grizzlies are going to have to fight for their lives if they want to make the playoffs in this year's West.

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