On back to back days, the Memphis Grizzlies had to take on two of the fastest offenses in the NBA. The Grizzlies play at one of the slowest paces in the NBA, so it was a battle of contrasting styles.
The first night, the Grizzlies defeated the New Orleans Pelicans after a furious fourth quarter comeback. On the second night, they ran out of gas at Los Angeles Lakers came away with a 111-88 victory.
“We just didn’t have it tonight,” J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Tonight was just one of those nights. It’s time to move on to Denver.”
As the game developed, it was evident the back-to-back games took its toll on the Grizzlies.
Here are three of the main takeaways from the loss against the Lakers.
At one point midway through the second quarter, the Grizzlies had as many points (34) as the Lakers had rebounds (34). Overall, it was a tough day on the glass for the Grizzlies. They were out-rebounded 57-36 on the glass, which included giving up 19 offensive rebounds.
“We defended, we rebounded, we cleaned the glass,” said Lakers star Lebron James after the game. “At the half, we were up 36-11, rebounding. You’re not going to lose too many games like that.”
“Their bigs combined had eight offensive rebounds in the first half, and that doesn’t count the tap outs they were able to come up with,” Bickerstaff said. “They played with a purpose and we just didn’t have it tonight.”
In the first quarter, the Grizzlies scored just 16 points. The offense was able to get good shots but struggled to knock them down.
On the second day of a back-to-back, this is something that becomes a problem sometimes. The Grizzlies finished the game 6-of-30 from three-point range, shooting 20%.
“Early on, we got a little demoralized because we got some open looks, especially in the first quarter,” Bickerstaff said. “We created some wide open looks for each other, but they just didn’t go down.”
King James in Memphis:
About one hour before the game, there were more people in the first few rows at the FedExForum than an any game this season. Many of those people donned the purple-and-gold and others were just excited to see the best player in the NBA in Memphis.
James made his presence felt as he flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
With Kyle Anderson in foul trouble, Bickerstaff made a sort of surprising move and put the nimble-footed big man, Jamychal Green on James. In the matchup, Green more than held his own.
“We wanted to keep size on him as much as we possibly could,” Bickerstaff said. “That was my thought going in.”
Next up, the Grizzlies will head to Denver Monday to take on the Nuggets. They’ll return home Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.