MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES CONTINUE TO LOSE 

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES CONTINUE TO LOSE

“We suck, we suck,” point guard Jason Williams said after the game. “We’re the worst team in the league. Print that, top headline, Grizzlies are the worst team in the league.” The Seattle Sonics (17-16) handed the Grizzlies (9-23) the team’s 4th loss in a row Sunday afternoon at the Pyramid in front of a meager Memphis crowd of 12, 832. Williams’ apparent frustration comes -- in part -- to Williams’ own poor play. Though the guard scored 19 points and tossed out 11 assists, he was also 8/23 in shooting with six turnovers. However, the entire Grizzlies team felt the heat today, showing offensive ineptitude in the fourth quarter. “We had five stops in a row,” head coach Sidney Lowe summarized after the game. “But we couldn’t score.” Lowe gave credit to the Sonics’ defense as well as the Grizzlies reaction to that defense. “When you play a very physical team -- and Seattle is a physical team -- you can either take it strong inside and draw the foul or you bail out and take the jump shot. We didn’t take it strong.” Along with Williams’ 19, rookie Pau Gasol scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds while fellow rookie forward Shane Battier scored 11 points, pulled down six rebounds, and also had three assists. For Seattle, point guard Gary Payton led the way once again with 24 points and 11 assists. Also for the Sonics, Forward Rashard Lewis scored 19 points, guard Brent Barry scored 16 points, and forward Vladimir Radmanovic scored 13. Lowe said that -- along with the soft offense -- his team’s defense broke down throughout the game. “Our perimeter defense was poor,” he said. “We preach no middle penetration, and we gave that up 28 times tonight. We need to work on that.” The Grizzlies face one of the toughest part of their schedule in upcoming weeks, and Lowe knows his team will have to raise the level of its game in order to salvage any sort of improvement from last year’s 23-win squad. “Our next 10-11 ballgames, we play against playoff teams. We have to finish them off,” Lowe said. Lowe -- and the Grizzlies -- get their next opportunity Tuesday night, January 8, at the Pyramid against the Toronto Raptors at 7 p.m.

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