Despite having the advantage of a loud and energized home crowd in attendance at FedEx Forum, the Memphis Grizzlies were unable to close out their season opener with a win.
From missed scoring opportunities to surprising defensive lapses, Taylor Jenkins’ club was seemingly outmatched by the visiting New Orleans Pelicans on both ends of the floor.
Though starting the season off 0-1 isn’t exactly ideal, especially for a team tabbed as being a legitimate title contender, the objective moving forward is to try and remain upbeat and, when asked postgame what the “message” is when it comes to keeping the Grizzlies focused, star guard Desmond Bane retorted with an emphasis on two key points.
Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane issues 2-point message following loss to Pelicans
"“One, we got to be better, but, two, it’s a long season,” Bane said. “Two or three out of my four years I think we lost the first game. It’s no excuse but we have to be better and we will. Coach isn’t necessarily worried about the result. Obviously we want to win every single game but we want to build winning habits along the way.”"
Bane would go on to emphasize that this sentiment is nothing new amongst this Grizzlies team and that it will “echo through the locker room with our leaders” as the season continues.
Even with the poor overall outing from a team perspective, Bane still managed to put forth an admirable affair during the opener.
Tasked with serving as the go-to option on offense with superstar Ja Morant suspended for the first 25 games of the year, it seemed as though the 25-year-old felt more than comfortable in such a role as he would go on to lead all scorers with 31 points on 50 percent shooting from both the field and beyond the arc while adding on 5 assists, 5 boards, 2 steals, and a block in 36 minutes of action.
Nonetheless, these tremendous efforts from Bane weren’t enough to make up for Memphis’ overall poor shooting night (41.8 percent from the floor and 27.9 percent from deep) and, simultaneously, New Orleans’ scorched earth efficiency (shot 47.1 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from deep), and, ultimately, they were bested by a final score of 111-104.
Hopefully, with the guard’s message, the Grizzlies will be able to shake off this ugly loss and even up their record Friday night, where they’ll play host to the Denver Nuggets.