The Grizzlies have played 59 games this season and Sundays against the Seattle Sonics at the Pyramid ranks at the bottom. The Sonics had no trouble winning, 71-96, in front of an announced crowd of over 14,000.
The Grizzlies (15-44) shot miserably from the field with rookie forward Pau Gasol going 0-6 on the day, forward Grant Long going 0-8, and Shane Battier going 4-12. The Grizzlies combined for a 33.3 FG%.
We dont have enough shooters, coach Sidney Lowe lamented after the game. They [Seattle] knocked down open shots. When we got open shots, we didnt hit them.
Guard Rodney Buford Ð back from a drug suspension Ð scored 16 points to lead the Grizzlies. After Buford, center Lorenzen Wright scored 14 points, forward Stromile Swift scored 12 points, back-up guard Eddie Gill chipped in 11 points, and Battier scored 10 of his own. Gasol did scored five points, and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
Also of note for the Grizzlies, starting guard Jason Williams is still out with toes sore from ingrown toenail surgery he underwent before the All-Star break last February. To add to the Grizzlies guard woes, Brevin Knight, back from a sprained ankle, went down only two minutes in the game with a busted hip. Knight did not return, and will undergo an MRI on Monday.
With Knight in the game, the Grizzlies offense hummed. With Knight gone, the Grizzlies offense sputtered. That showed us how important the point-guard position is to our team, Battier said. Losing Knight really made our job more difficult.
For the Sonics (33-27), All-Star guard Gary Payton led all scorers with 20 points, and also tossed out a game-high 13 assists in the win. After Payton, forward Rashard Lewis scored 14 points, forward Vladimir Radmanovic scored 13 points, forward/guard Desmond Mason added 12 points, guard Brent Barry scored 11 points, and forward Predrag Drobnjak scored 10 points of his own to round out the Seattle score.
The Grizzlies go on the road to face the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, March 4, before returning to the Pyramid on Thursday, March 7 to face the Indiana Pacers.
Guard Isaac Fontaine, recently of the NDBL and in his first game as a Griz, did not score any points in 18 minutes of play with 0-5 shooting. Guard Eddie Gill, who hails most recently from the ABA continued his strong play with 11 points.