The NBA is a league of superstars. The Memphis Grizzlies is a team without superstars. So that makes winning hard. And if the Grizzlies dont even have their starting personnel, the job is darn near impossible. Depleted in manpower, the Grizzlies dropped a tenth loss of this young season, 89-103 to the Phoenix Suns.
Pau Gasol and Shane Battier led all Memphis scorers with 18 points apiece while Lorenzen Wright had 13 and Rodney Buford contributed 11. But without starting shooting guard Michael Dickerson (out with stress fracture), starting point guard Jason Williams (ejected in the first half for mouthing off to an official after a blown call), and starting back-up Stromile Swift (out with a hyper-extended elbow), the Griz found themselves out-manned and out of luck early and often.
It sounds like a broken record, our inability to score points said head coach Sidney Lowe after the game. Lowe was referring specifically to the Suns dominating 56.8% shooting performance compared to Memphis 40.7%.
But Lowe was quick to point out that Memphis offensive woes are second on his list of concerns right now.
Im disappointed in our defense, he said. Its horrible. Its absolutely horrible.
The teams diminished size in the paint led to 48 points for the Suns close to the basket. The Griz responded with only 36.
The only way were going to win is defense, Lowe said. You cant just outscore people.
Another disparity was that the Suns actually turned the ball over more than did the Griz. While the Suns gave the ball away 22 times, the Griz only gave the ball away 15 times. However, the result was only eight more Griz points on those turnovers. In other words, the squad did not convert on the opportunities it had. Maybe were not taking good shots, Lowe said. And on occasion were just missing shots.
Part of Lowes frustrations comes when his second unit hits the floor. Typically, any meltdowns occur then. We had one group who did very well, Lowe said. We had one group in there that was very confused. Some guys couldnt remember where to go.
Another note from tonights game involved the return of former Tiger star Anfarnee Hardaway, who now plays for the Suns. The Memphis alum was relatively quiet this night with only 16 points. The Suns other perennial star, Stephon Marbury, was likewise quiet with 16 points as well. Instead, the Suns relied on back ups Tony Delk who scored 23 points and also back up Rodney Rogers who scored 18.
Memphis returns to the Pyramid on Monday, November 26, when they host the Sacramento Kings.