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Silence is defeating as Grizzlies struggle to defend and win

Now hear this: “If we’re not going to talk on the defensive end, there’s no way in hell we’re going to win these games. That’s just honestly speaking. Communication is huge in this league, especially on this level.”

So said Memphis’ Derrick Rose after the Grizzlies (3-12) lost 110-89 (on Friday) to the Kevin-Durant-less Phoenix Suns (10-6) at FedExForum and absorbed their seventh defeat at home this season.

Next up for the Grizzlies is the Sunday (Nov. 26) afternoon (5 p.m.) meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves (11-4) at FedExForum.

Rose, who has been used cautiously this season, had one of his better games for the Grizzlies. He scored 17 points in 21 minutes.

The Suns were led by Booker with 40 points and 5 assists. Eric Gordon had 20 points and former Memphis Grizzlies Grayson Allen finished with 14 points. Jordan Goodwin had 14 points off the bench.

Devin Booker hurt the Grizzlies. (Photo: Terry Davis/The Tri-State Defender)

Memphis played well in spurts but could not overcome timely runs by the Suns that kept the Grizzlies at bay. Rose offered his view of the problem/challenge.

“Just communicating. I’ve been saying it the whole time. I don’t know when it’s going to actually resonate,” said Rose, the former University of Memphis star, who joined the Grizzlies for this season’s run.

“Sometimes it’s intimidating if you’re hearing the opposite team calling out the exact play that you’re running. It lets you know everybody has the same common goal while they’re out there and that everybody’s on the same page,” Rose said. “Right now, we lack that, but that’s something we can work on and an area we could improve in.”

Santi Aldama (shooting) on overcoming the losing streak and staying positive: “You have to count on your teammates and trust the work you put in. It is tough. It’s better when you are winning.” (Photo: Terry Davis/The Tri-State Defender)

The Grizzlies were led by Santi Aldama with 21 points. Desmond Bane had one of his worst offensive performances, with only 6 points, but contributed with 10 assists. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 13 points and 7 rebounds and David Roddy had 14 points off the bench.

It was the second straight game in which the Grizzlies scored less than 100 points.

“We got to move the ball better. I mean, still not good enough in the fastbreak. We’re missing too many opportunities to find open teammates,” Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “You noticed the energy of the ball moving around, that’s what it comes down to. Twenty-two assists, that’s not good enough.

“We got to be a team…where we’re at right now, we got to be getting 30-plus (assists), we got to be really moving that ball around. Obviously, we’re going to have some nights where the ball is not going to fall but we just got to have the energy to fallback (on).”

As for the communication woes that Rose spoke of, Bane said, “It is both sides of the ball. There were a few plays where we should have been in different coverages and we didn’t execute the coverages. It’s on everyone involved to make sure we are on the right page.”

Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins focuses on Bismack Biyombo during a timeout. (Photo: Terry Davis/The Tri-State Defender)

New Memphis big man Bismack Biyombo said resolving the communication lapses “goes back to watching more game film and sticking to the game plan. At the end of the day the coach can give us the game plan, but it comes back on us to do what is asked. We have to continue to fight and trust one another.”

Providing a caution on not trying to do too much, Biyombo said, “Don’t try to do God’s job. There is a reason we are in this situation. Everything has a purpose.

“This could be something that helps us in the long run. In the long run the struggles that we are dealing with now it (is) better that it is happening now instead of later in the season. We can fix it. It is an opportunity for others guys to step up.”

Notes:

  • Medical update – Marcus Smart should be back with the team in three to five weeks; Luke Kenard will have an update in two weeks and Xaiver Tillman Sr. will have an update next week.
  • The Grizzlies have received an exemption from the NBA to sign two players (Shaquille Harrison and Jaylen Nowell) to 10-day contracts.

Quote’em:

Referencing the need for the Grizzlies to be more effective scoring in the paint, Bane said, “It is a mentality. We have to own the paint on defense and offense. We have to touch the paint as much as possible. The more we do that, the more opportunities it will create on both sides of the ball.”

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