Thursday, January 5, 2017

Clippers 115, Grizzlies 106: Extremely Lame and Not That Close

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:51 AM

click to enlarge LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski

Last night, the Grizzlies lost another game in Los Angeles to a team they should’ve beaten because of a failure to execute on offense and an inability to get stops on defense. It was a different mode of failure from Tuesday night’s disappointment against the Lakers, but the overall vibe was the same: one of muted, disorganized, unfocused futility.

Chandler Parsons was out, in keeping with the Grizzlies’ pattern of resting him on the second night of back-to-backs. JaMychal Green was out with a facial fracture suffered in a collision with Timofey Mozgov’s elbow in Tuesday night’s game. That meant Jarell Martin was thrust into a starting role at power forward, and it didn’t go well for him. He struggled to defend without fouling, and eventually only managed to play 12 minutes in a game he started—not a great night.

But nothing about either of the Grizzlies’ recent nights in L.A. has been great. From coming out flat after three days off and getting smoked by an enthusiastic-but-inferior Lakers team, to a Twitter uproar about Parsons’ TMZ-reported exploits on a night between back-to-back games (which I had to break out into its own sidebar below), to having a great 34-point second quarter against the Clippers and then checking out for the rest of the game, it's all been an unpleasant mélange of boredom, one that required the home fans to stay up late to be let down.

Am I worried about where that leaves the Grizzlies, headed to a Friday night rematch with the Golden State Warriors and a tough little stretch of schedule ahead? Not really. They're going to muddle through and come out the other side. But the signs are there that until the same guys are consistently on the floor together, the chemistry is going to be weird. Which makes sense. Parsons isn't playing every game. Green is injured. Conley was back and then out again and now he's back again. Ennis starts sometimes, and sometimes doesn't. It's hard to maintain consistent effort and execution when your roles are still unsettled, and we know from years of experience with this team that when the effort isn't there, they lose to teams they should beat. It might be a bumpy week or two, which Grizzlies fans should maybe just consider fair payback for the insane streak they went on when Conley was out. I still think they'll be fine.

click to enlarge dsc_9944.jpeg

Scattered, Incomplete Reflections on Chandler Parsons

  1. First off, it's not really anybody's business if a grown adult goes out on his night off.
  2. Grizzlies fans didn't technically know it was his night off, so maybe the appearance that he was out partying made it look like he was doing it before a game. But it was his night off.
  3. He's clearly not all the way healthy, and even more clearly not in game shape, and hasn't really ever been since signing with the Grizzlies. I didn't think he'd play a game until Christmas, but when he did I figured he'd look better than he has.
  4. That said, he hasn't been terrible. He just hasn't been an explosive secondary playmaker, the potent offensive force that people were told he would be. Because he's clearly not in shape.
  5. If he were totally healthy Twitter, that cesspool of fake moral outrage, self-aggrandizing Personal Brand-building ironic distance, robots trying to get you to click things, and actual literal Nazis, would just be cracking jokes about it instead of being indignant.
  6. The Grizzlies have never really had a player like this before, a high profile guy who likes to be out on the town. The Core Four guys fans so revere are all married with kids. That makes Parsons an odd fit culturally, both on the team and with the fanbase itself.
  7. So, is it a bad look for Mr. Extremely Visible Party Animal (who—in public, because the Internet is public—told an Instagram model to "show me your tits," which is way dumber than having a fun night out when he's not playing the next day) to also be out of shape? Yeah. It is, a little. But nobody works out every hour of every day. Everybody's off work at some point.
  8. This will probably all go away once he's healthy.
  9. Assuming he gets healthy.
  10. He'll probably be healthy eventually.

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