Another Dark Cloud After Another as the Grizzlies Fall to the Clippers

After a much-needed All Star break to recuperate and prepare for a gauntlet ahead in the quest to convey, the Grizzlies made their return to the hardwood last night to take on the playoff-minded (now 33-27) Los Angeles Clippers for the third matchup of the season. With a lot of factors, distractions, injuries, and absences the Grizzlies couldn’t pull the win together, losing 112- 106, falling to 23-37 on the season and 2-1 on the season series.

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A month ago, the biggest attraction to this post All Star break matchup was the Jaren Jackson, Jr., bobble head bobbing to Blocboy JB’s “Shoot” dance, but, after the trade deadline, it became “the game where Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green return as Avery Bradley plays his old team.” Eventually, due to the Memphis City Police Department looking for BlocBoy JB for gun, drug, and theft charges, the giveaway was postponed - don’t worry the first 5000 fans who would have gotten the bobble head got vouchers for when the item is  to be given on a later date.

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Then, after reports on February 9, 2019, it became the game that the formerly casted-away $94 million man, Chandler Parsons, would make his return in the Beale Street Blue. At the beginning of the season, Chandler earned the starting slot out of training camp, but, after 6:28 into the third game of the season against the Utah Jazz, Parsons exited with knee soreness.

He was never really heard from much after that, that is, until David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal spoke to his agent who seemed to vent some frustrations of his and Chandler’s with the management of Parsons’ situation and the management situation of the team. After nearly 4 months of no NBA basketball, he came off the bench to finish with 3 points off of 1-7 total shooting (1-4 from the three) in 19:34.

As if that wasn’t enough, another ominous cloud drifted to overshadow that headline to make another as Adrian Wojnarowski reported mid-game that Jaren, who was listed as OUT due to a right quad injury, would continue to be sidelined for the “foreseeable future.” Wojnarowski was specific enough to include that the “organization will be cautious with its young star.”

JB clarified during his postgame media availability that a MRI found a deep bruise in his right quad and was later reinforced by a Grizzlies public release that he will be out indefinitely. As pointed out by Omari Sankofa of The Athletic, this same specific injury first appeared on the injury report back on January 31 and that he has popped back up once or twice as questionable since then.

And buzzing through with another sting of poor news, Kyle Anderson is still out indefinitely because of shoulder soreness as he goes to see another specialist to try to figure out what is wrong. Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian tweeted his followers to remind them that this is at least his third medical consultation since the problem began to keep him out of games as far back as February 1.

Jonas Valanciunas was also listed as out for “personal reasons” as he traveled back to his home country of Lithuania over the All Star break. According to Herrington, the “hope is he’ll rejoin the team for the next game.”

The Game Itself

With all of the injuries and absences that are listed above to deal with, JB started Mike Conley, Avery Bradley, Justin Holiday, Ivan Rabb, and, fresh off from signing a new contract to remain a Grizzly, Bruno Caboclo at the power forward slot. Opposite of the Grizzlies’ starting five, Doc Rivers went with a three guard lineup of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Patrick Beverley, and Landry Shamet with Danilo Gallinari and Ivica Zubac in the front court.

To open up scoring for the Grizzlies, Bruno Caboclo evened things up at 2 with a promising finger roll before Gallinari hit a three on the other end. The Grizzlies drifted into foul trouble quick with four, 2 on Caboclo, less than 4 minutes into the game putting the Clippers in the bonus while up 11-6, but, behind 5 early rebounds from Rabb and Bradley getting his first basket of the game, the Grizzlies forced the timeout by pulling within 1 with 6:58 left in the first at 11-10. Mike Conley then secured the first lead of the game with his first bucket right out of the timeout with a layin.

Zubac and Shamet answered with a slam and a three before Holliday stepped out of bounds and Patrick Beverley received a technical foul. Then, with 5:33 left in the quarter, Chandler Parsons and Joakim Noah checked into the game together for the first time marking Parsons’, who helped recruit Noah to Memphis following his buyout from the Knicks, return to the court in Memphis since his season-high 11 points on 4-6 shooting, 3-4 from the three, in the home season opener against the Atlanta Hawks.

Parsons played as many expected he would: like someone with 3 major knee procedures who hasn't played since October. He eventually finished with 3 points, his lone field goal coming from a three as he went 1-4 from deep and 1-7 from the field. An optimist would and should remind everyone to cut him a little bit of slack considering he is someone with three major knee procedures who hasn't played since October, but that becomes a very exhausting notation when it is said anytime he steps onto the court.

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The first quarter ended on a sour note as the Grizzlies went down 36 - 23 to the Clippers who shot a scorching 63.6% from the field. The Grizzlies? 7-25 from the field, 0-5 from deep, leading to a field goal percentage of just 28%.

The second quarter was a mere extension of the first as the Clippers went on a 19-4 run over a span of 5:17 from 2:26 left in the first to just 2:49 into the second. Just past the midpoint mark of the 2nd quarter with 4:48 remaining, the Clippers led a game high of 22 leading 61 -39. Then, the Grizzlies began to wake up by going on a 14-4 run of their own to go into the locker room on a positive note, down 65-53. Much of that Clippers’ lead consisted of free throws, as they shot 16-19 from the charity stripe in the second quarter alone.

The first half featured strong performances from the Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell with 19 points and Danilo Gallinari who had 11. Then to fuel the fight for the Grizzlies, Ivan Rabb, Joakim Noah, and Mike Conley had 10 points each and Conley with 6 accompanying assists.

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As usual when it comes to third quarters, Grizz fans expected the worst, but came away with a more than pleasant competitive surprise as the Grizzlies, down 12 at the half led by 3, 86-83, as they waltzed into the final 12 minutes of gametime. The score went back and forth for a few minutes before the Grizzlies hit the gas to go on a 12-0 run behind 4 points from Mike Conley and his 7th and 8th assists: one to Ivan Rabb for a rare three pointer (!) for his 13th points of the game and one to Avery Bradley for his 8th points, who made a triple afterwards for the Grizzlies to get tie it at 72 with 5:33 left in the third.

Shortly afterwards from the 4:07 mark to the 1:15 mark, the Grizzlies went on another run, this time 10-0, to go up 84-80 before they closed the quarter out with the 3 point lead. In this run, Bradley scored 6 points to get to 17 and Noah scored 4 to get to 16. Bradley did not score after that, but, still, those 17 points were more than his Clipper career-high of 16.

The 4th did not end as hoped by the Grizzlies as they fell 112-106. There were chances to win, but none came to fruition as the offensive gas ran out down the stretch.

Outlook

As the record currently stands, the Grizzlies have the 6th worse in the league with 22 games left and no Dillon Brooks, and most likely no Jaren Jackson, Jr., and Kyle Anderson. The goal of conveying the pick to Boston this year has seemingly gotten loftier and more unlikely after each game since the goal was stated after the trade deadline. It is becoming so difficult that the Grizzlies are the underdogs tonight against the 13-46 Cleveland Cavaliers in a few sports books by 2.5 points.

Notable Boxes

Grizzlies

  • Mike Conley - 25 Pts - (7-18) FG - (2-9) 3PT - 10 Ast - 2 Blk - 1 Stl - 35 Min

  • Joakim Noah - 22 Pts - (5-10) FG - (12-12) FT - 11 Reb - 2 Blk - 1 Stl - 30 Min

  • Ivan Rabb - 15 Pts - (5-10) FG - (1-1) 3PT - 9 Reb - 1 Blk - 1 Stl - 24 Min

  • Avery Bradley - 17 Pts - (7-14) FG - (1-3) 3PT - 2 Stl - 5 Fouls - 32 Min

  • Chandler Parsons - 3 Pts - (1-7) FG - (1-4) 3PT - 1 Stl - 19 Min

  • CJ Miles - 4 Pts - (1-9) FG - (1-7) 3PT - 1 Blk - 1 Stl - 25 Min

  • Bruno Caboclo - 8 Pts - (3-5) FG - (2-3) 3PT - 5 Fouls - 10 Min

Clippers

  • Montrezl Harrell - 30 Pts - (11-14) FG - 3 Reb - 26 Min

  • Danilo Gallinari - 23 Pts - (5-13) FG - (1-7) 3PT - 1 Blk - 3 Stl - 8 Reb - (12-12) FT - 30 Min

  • Lou Williams - 18 Pts - (6-15) FG - (2-4) 3PT - 8 Ast - 5 Reb - 31 Min

  • Jamychal Green - 7 Pts - (2-4) FG - (1-2) 3PT - 5 Reb - 17 Min

  • Garrett Temple - 0 Pts - (0-2) FG - (0-2) 3PT - 4 Reb - 17 Min

  • Landry Shamet - 8 Pts - (2-9) FG - (2-7) 3PT - 31 Min

  • Patrick Beverley - 7 Pts - (3-7) FG - 2 Blk - 2 Stl - 9 Reb - 3 Ast - 6 Fouls - 31 Min

GrizzEric Lentz