Yesterday, the Memphis Grizzlies lost 109-99 to the New Orleans Pelicans, making that three straight loses for the Grizzlies.
The bubble experience has not been going as well as the Memphis Grizzlies had hoped. After losing both Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones before the official seeding games even began, the team likely knew they were in for a tough road. However, it’s unlikely anybody expected this.
After losing to the New Orleans Pelicans 109-99, the Grizzlies have dropped their first three games in the bubble, and if scrimmages are included, Memphis has only won one of their six games back. While the game stayed relatively close for the majority, a late-fourth quarter push is what sealed the Grizzlies fate in this one.
A big reason for this lose was the shooting discrepancy between the two teams. The Pelicans shot 45.1 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from 3-point range, while Memphis only managed to make 39.8 percent of their shots from the field and 27.9 percent of their shots from the 3-point line.
Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks combined to really elevate those shooting woes for Memphis, going a combined 10-34 from the field (3-17 from 3-point range), and combining for just 26 points. While this poor performance is uncommon for Morant, it’s becoming a pattern in the bubble for Brooks.
Over his last three games, Brooks has gone 6-16, 7-20, and 5-13 from the field. He’s also never made more than two 3-point shots while never having taken less than seven shots.
Brooks’ struggles have earned him his fair share of criticism on social media, and it seemed like at first the Grizzlies were going to bench Brooks for large portions of the game; especially considering that Brooks’ backup, Grayson Allen, was having a career night. However, Brooks ended up playing in large portions of the second half, and ended the game with the second highest minutes played on the Grizzlies, beat out only by Morant.
The loss of Tyus Jones, who the team announced had knee soreness and wouldn’t be reevaluated until at least August 5th, has had its impact on the Grizzlies team, as they become incredibly shallow going to the bench when one of their guards is struggling, let alone two.
Memphis’ saving grace was that the San Antonio Spurs, who were the ninth seed coming into the night, also lost their game against the Philadelphia 76ers 132-130.
The race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, thus giving the holder an advantage in the likely event of a play-in game, has only become more heated in the last few days. The difference between the eighth and the 11th seed is just 2.5 games, and the ninth and 10th seeds are current tied at just two games behind the eighth seed Grizzlies.
Memphis will look to right the ship, and find a crucial win giving them a little bit of breathing room in the standings, against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, August 5th at 1:30 PM CST.