Memphis' Dillon Brooks, who is shown here against Portland at FedExForum on Wednesday, had a rough night on Thursday in Cleveland, where he was ejected in the third quarter and assessed a flagrant-2 foul. (Photo: Terry Davis/The New Tri-State Defender)

Although still second in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies will bear skid marks when they host Toronto at FedExForum on Sunday.

Reeling, Memphis (32-20) has lost seven of its last eight, including Friday night’s disturbing 15-point loss (128-113) to the Cavaliers (32-22) in Cleveland. A fourth-quarter debacle the previous night resulted in a 10-point (122-112) defeat at FedExForum.

On the road, the Grizzlies now have an 11-16 record. They have a 21-4 mark at home.

The game against the Cavaliers was marred by the third-quarter ejections of Memphis’ Dillon Brooks and Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, who was voted an All-Star starter last week.

With the Cavs leading 81-76, Brooks missed a shot and fell in the lane. While on the floor, he flung his arm back and struck Mitchell, who was standing over him, in the groin area. Mitchell dropped in pain and retaliated by firing the ball at Brooks and then charging and shoving him along the baseline in front of the Memphis bench.

As the altercation threatened to spill into the seats, officials and players were able to get things under control before any punches were thrown.

The Cavaliers led by four after the first quarter and 13 at the break. Memphis gained a point in the third with Cleveland outscoring the Grizzlies by three in the fourth.

Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who once guided the Grizzlies, felt Mitchell had every right to defend himself.

“That was a cheap shot in multiple ways,” he said. “A guy should have the right to stand up for himself. I thought Donovan did that. I’m proud of our guys. …

“You have to stand up for yourself. That’s what he did and his teammates had his back.”

Brooks refused to discuss the altercation with Mitchell in any detail. When he was asked about the exchange, Memphis All-Star Ja Morant stepped in and said the Grizzlies would not talk about the incident.

Brooks did say he agreed with the flagrant-2 call.

“It saved me some T’s (technicals),” he said.

Morant believes the Grizzlies are being unfairly judged.

“Anything when it comes to negative about the Grizzlies, we normally, you know, get the punishment,” Morant said. “It ain’t the same. They (the NBA) hate us.”

While Mitchell said he and Brooks have a long history, Morant dismissed the assertion that the Grizzlies have any issues with the four-time All-Star.

“We don’t got no history with nobody,” Morant said. “We don’t beef with nobody.”

Brooks had 9 points, 2 rebounds, and an assist when kicked out of the game.  Morant finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. Desmond Bane scored 25 points (2 rebounds, 1 assist) and Santi Aldama turned in a 21-10-1 game. Brandon Clarke had 10 points, three rebounds, and 1 assist.

Darius Garland’s 32 points led the Cavaliers. Mitchell exited with six points, four rebounds, and three assists. Five others had double-digit outings.

Steven Adams (knee) now has missed six straight games.

Welcome to the floor Danny Green. (Photo: Terry Davis/The New Tri-State Defender)

Against Portland on an icy and cold night in downtown Memphis, the Grizzlies got off to a fast start and led 32-26 after the first quarter. Danny Green made his season debut to start the second quarter. With 7:10 left in the first half, Green made his first basket putting the Grizzlies up 42-38. At halftime, Memphis led 57-52.

The Grizzlies pushed the lead to 10 (77-67) before Portland chipped away and pulled within six going into the fourth quarter. Portland went on a 20-7 run to end the game as the Trailblazers outscored the Grizzlies 38-22 in the fourth.

Damien Lillard was a problem for the Grizzlies. He finished with 42 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds. Anfernee Simons had 26 points.

Morant led the way for the Grizzlies with 32 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr., who has been named to his first NBA All-Star team, did not play against Cleveland. Against Portland, he had 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots. Bane returned after a two-game absence and had 17.

Green finished with 8 points in 10 minutes.

“It felt good,” Green said. “The game moved fast. I have to find a way to slow it down. It is good to be out there with the guys. It was fun. It would have been nice to win the game.”


Desmond Bane shoes the evolution of his game. (Photo: Terry Davis/The New Tri-State Defender)

Bane acknowledged that the Grizzlies have “hit a bit of adversity. We have 30 games left. We have the opportunity to make some moves; hopefully, start another win streak.”