Despite having the advantage of a full and raucous crowd at FedEx Forum, the Memphis Grizzlies floundered during Wednesday night’s season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.
While things were close early on, with a score reading 28-25 in favor of the home team after the first quarter, following a strong 32-point surge from NOLA in the second period Taylor Jenkins’ club saw themselves caught up in a game of catchup that proved too challenging to overcome.
In the end, the Grizzlies were bested by a final score of 111-104 and, in turn, kicked off their 2023-24 season 0-1.
Following the contest, newcomer Derrick Rose was asked during a locker room interview to “diagnose” where he believes things went wrong for the team on the night. In response, he issued a strong message that his teammates should heed as the season unfolds.
Derrick Rose drops words of wisdom following ugly Grizzlies loss to Pelicans
"“[I’m] still trying to process it. Yea, just an ugly game,” Rose said. “Everybody’s just got to be able to play their game, stop over thinking, and just understand that if we can’t rebound or consistently play defense to make them miss shots it’s going to be a lon year.”"
Despite rostering the two most recent recipients of the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award, Rose’s sentiment certainly rang true during their opening bout as the Grizzlies seemingly couldn’t stop a nosebleed against the Pelicans, with the team converting on a highly efficient 47.1 percent of their attempts from the field and 43.8 percent from deep while five players dropped 13 or more points.
On top of this, they were out-rebounded 37-52, which is a turnout that will make both fans and team personnel alike sorely miss the likes of recently shelved Steven Adams.
Though it may have only been one game, coming into the season it was feared that both these problems would arise with the current state of their roster, and this low level of production only emphasizes such a concern.
On a more positive note, one of the lone bright spots on the night came late in the first period when Rose checked into the game and officially made his regular season debut back in his collegiate stomping grounds of Memphis, Tennessee.
In 15 minutes of action, the veteran would go on to drop 8 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, his return to Grind City was not capped off with a win like many may have hoped but, with 81 games remaining on the docket, there’s plenty of time for him to come across such a turnout in front of the Grizzlies loyal fanbase.