The Grizzlies lost to the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night, 101–94. It was an ugly, frustrating performance for a Memphis team that has now lost 10 of their last 13 games after a promising 15–9 start to the season. The angst and frustration appears to have boiled over in a team meeting held after the game:
Garrett Temple has been surprisingly indispensable for the Grizzlies this season, and Omri Casspi, uh, did the Shammgod back in happier times. Temple had a crummy seven points in a team-high 37 minutes Wednesday night. Casspi played less than five minutes. It’s hard to imagine what could’ve brought those two to blows, but you can be sure it never would’ve happened if they’d stayed on the dang Kings!
The Grizzlies are now a game under .500 on the season, which in the brutal Western Conference puts them two and a half games back of the eighth seed and just two games ahead of the 14th seed. Their juju was all fucked-up against the Pistons: the Grizzlies scored 12 total points in the third quarter, on just three made buckets, and an ailing Mike Conley only got up eight shots in the game and failed to score for the first time in more than three years. The loss marked the 12th time in Memphis’s last 16 games that their offense has been held under 100 points, which is frankly incredible for a decent team in the modern NBA. Memphis has gotten back to Grit and Grind under J.B. Bickerstaff, and plays at the slowest pace in basketball, but those low point totals aren’t all pace related—Memphis also has the fifth-worst offensive rating in basketball. In short, Memphis’s early season success appears increasingly to have been a mirage, and now the players are becoming demoralized.
After the game and meeting, Bickerstaff looked like he wanted to hide under the bed, and needed an ominous 35 minutes to get to his postgame presser. According to David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, all of Bickerstaff and Conley and Marc Gasol tried to position the meeting as positive and productive, but it’s also worth noting that they were the only three Grizzlies representatives who made themselves available to the press. But at least they’ve got Joakim Noah now!