Monday, January 14, 2013

Postgame Notebook: Clippers 99, Grizzlies 73 — U-G-L-Y, Griz Ain't Got No Alibi

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 10:55 PM

The Clippers manhandled Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies.
After Friday's stirring win over the San Antonio Spurs, I bypassed my typical postgame notebook. The game was just too good for it. Tonight, after this stinker of a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, I'm forgoing it because the game was just too bad.

Well, not really. I'm actually ditching it again because I have multiple print deadlines looming tomorrow and have to keep this quick. But, boy, was this bad.

What happened? Take it away, Marc Gasol:

“Tonight we couldn't make shots. We couldn't score. We couldn't finish around the basket. We couldn't make plays for each other. And our defense wasn't very good,” Gasol said after the game.

Okay then.

The 26-point scoring margin is the Grizzlies' worst defeat of the season and the 30.3% shooting was the worst home performance in franchise history. It marked two terrible games in a row, with Friday's big home win over the Spurs followed by a miserable loss in Dallas the next night.

Both games had mitigating circumstances, but not enough to forgive efforts this poor: The Dallas game seemed like a classic schedule loss, the second night of a back-to-back on the road after a draining overtime win. This time, the team was playing without leading scorer Rudy Gay, out of town for a family funeral. Gay's loss, on top of the loss of his own back-up, Quincy Pondexter, had the Grizzlies playing little-used and unconventional lineups all night, and against the league's deepest team.

A surprise early insertion of second-year guard Josh Selby proved particularly disastrous. Selby entered with under a minute left in the first quarter and the Grizzlies were only down by two. Four minutes later, when Selby went to the bench, a 13-2 Clippers run had pushed the deficit to 13. A mini-run brought the Griz to within 6, but the Clippers hit back and the Grizzlies were down 15 or more from the end of the second quarter on.

The Clippers were playing without MVP candidate Chris Paul, but with wrecking ball reserve Eric Bledsoe potentially even better on the defensive end, they didn't lose anything at that end. On the offensive end, the Clippers superior depth (32 points combined from Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes) was enough against the Grizzlies defense lacking in the usual energy. And missing Gay is no excuse for the poor play from the other members of the team's offensive core, with Gasol, Mike Conley, and Zach Randolph combining to shoot 11-40.

Overall, it was just an unacceptable effort in front of the home crowd, regardless of match-ups or missing teammates.

If there was any silver lining here it was the first extended look for rookie Tony Wroten, who had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and no turnovers in 14 minutes. Wroten only shot 2-7, but he got to the rim, he drew fouls (4-4 from the line), and he showcased potentially elite raw playmaking skills, including one of the best passes of the season with a bullet feed for a Tony Allen dunk.

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