Eight Losses: Analyzing Memphis Grizzlies’ Minor Woes


November 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) and forward Zach Randolph (50) walk to the bench during a TV timeout during the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena. The Grizzlies defeated the Kings 97-85. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After being without Zach Randolph again on Friday night, the Memphis Grizzlies fell to 21-8 as they dropped their fourth consecutive game.

The Grizzlies began the season with the greatest start in the franchise’s history. They are currently fourth place in the Western Conference, and with a win tonight, they could move into a tie for third place with the all-familiar Houston Rockets.

Though the Grizz are not at the very top of the Western Conference as they were nearly a month ago, their fast beginning to the 2014-15 season is somewhat more impressive than it usually would because the West, as a whole, is having a historically strong start to the new season.

There are currently nine Western teams that have won more than 50% of their games thus far, with Oklahoma City knocking hard on the .500 door. Each year, it seems as if the West continues to be tougher and more difficult for teams to make the NBA Playoffs and this year is no different as 2015 draws near.

Memphis already owns 21 victories, but their eight losses to date include all of the following:

November 8th @ Milwaukee Bucks (92-93)

November 19th @ Toronto Raptors (92-96)

December 3rd @ Houston Rockets (96-105)

December 5th vs. San Antonio Spurs (101-107)

December 19th vs. Chicago Bulls (97-103)

December 21st @ Cleveland Cavaliers (91-105)

December 22nd vs. Utah Jazz (91-97)

December 26th vs. Houston Rockets (111-117)

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  • Identical Significance

    There is an identical significance that stands out from all except three of the losses. Most notably is the ongoing four-game losing streak that needs to end tonight against the Miami Heat.

    The significance is injury and illness.

    Out of all eight of these losses, only the Bucks’ defeat of the Grizzlies and the disappointing back-to-back losses to the Rockets and Spurs, respectively, are cases where each Memphis starter was available to play.

    The second loss of the season is when the Grizzlies were without a good portion of their roster–with two players being starters Tony Allen and Courtney Lee–due to a stomach virus going around the team. The illnesses were uncontrollable and the loss was inevitable. Only losing by four points to an excellent Toronto team was very commendable by the Grizzlies that were able to step on the floor that night.

    Tony Allen was hit in the eye late in the win against Golden State, which led to the Grindfather missing three straight games. That began with the home loss to Chicago.

    Tony Allen is the heart of Grizzly defense. When he is out, the team takes a major blow.

    The same goes for Zach Randolph. Z-Bo injured his knee in the game against Chicago, and after missing the past three games completely, he is still listed as questionable with no timetable for a set return to game action.

    Although it would be nice to have Z-Bo back in the starting lineup as soon as possible, he should not be rushed back from his minor knee injury. Grizz Nation does not need Z-Bo to miss anymore additional time due to a sore knee developing complications, so him sitting out a few games now is beneficial moving forward.

    Hopefully the Grizzlies defeat Miami tonight in South Beach to put an end to the current four-game skid. Without Randolph, the road is tough, but it is allowing other Grizz players to develop and learn to battle without the presence of Z-Bo on the court.

    Marc Gasol is a frontrunner in the NBA’s Most Valuable Player race, but the Grizzlies have learned how to win a few games without him; however, the Grizzlies rarely lose with Gasol in the lineup. Although Randolph is getting older, he is still about as consistent as they come. I believe Zach Randolph is almost nearly as important to the Grizzlies as Marc Gasol and even Mike Conley–the literal on-court offensive coordinator.

    This goes to show that the continuity of the Grizzlies is what makes them so tough to beat, along with tenacious defense. It is a brotherhood. When a starter goes down, issues occasionally arise, but there is always an even stronger response.

    The Grizz do not bluff, plain and simple; however, injuries and illnesses are viable reasons for the majority of their eight losses. Memphis undoubtedly would have more wins and fewer losses to their name if these adversities would have not occurred. Get well soon, Zach!

    No reason to fret, Grizzlies fans. It is an extremely long season–82 total games. Basketball is a game of runs, both within individual games and within the season schedule itself. Perhaps a new and long winning streak will begin shortly.

    The tough losses due to injured starters may wind up being a silver lining for the Memphis Grizzlies come playoff time.

    Stand together, Grizz Nation!

    Go Grizz!