Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies Miss Prime Opportunity on Road Trip

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIFebruary 6, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02:  Tony Allen #9 of the Memphis Grizzlies leaps for a rebound against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies put on a lackluster performance on their three-game road trip. This might have been expected since Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies play poorly on the road. Nevertheless, the Grizzlies missed a big opportunity to start the month of February right on their only road trip of the month.

The Grizzlies lost two of their three games on the road trip. After beating the Atlanta Hawks, the Grizzlies fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics, missing a chance to obtain their first road win against a winning team this season.

The young Grizzlies seemed to lack energy in their 98-80 loss to the Celtics on Sunday, shooting 36.8 percent from the field. Besides O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay—who combined for 36 points on 50 percent shooting—the Grizzlies shot 31.6 percent from the field. Gasol was 3-of-14 from the field and Marreese Speights continued his dismal play by shooting 2-of-10.

The Grizzlies failed to capitalize on 20 Celtics turnovers. Despite their age (with an average age 4.4 years older than that of the Grizzlies), the Celtics had 15 more assists and seven more rebounds.

The Grizzlies weren't too bad in their 101-94 loss to the Thunder on Friday. Gasol scored 24 points on a fine 9-of-12 shooting performance. The Grizzlies shot 42.5 percent from the field, but it wasn't enough as they allowed the Thunder to shoot 5.4 percent better. Also, they couldn't stop Kevin Durant as he scored 36 points.

One might have thought the Grizzlies could fly through the road trip after their 96-77 win in Atlanta. However, the Grizzlies couldn't keep Durant out and couldn't keep up with a sharp Celtics team. Gasol shot just fine in the first two games of the trip, but couldn't hold up against the Celtics.

Perhaps Gasol could see future improvement playing on the road. He shot 70 percent from the field in the first two games of the road trip before hitting 21 percent from the field on Sunday. That put him at 50 percent for the road trip.


The Grizzlies look like a different team on the road

The Grizzlies, which are 7-3 at home and 5-9 on the road, play much different on the road from the way they do at home. At home, the Grizzlies play solid ball. They score well, averaging 102.1 points per game while shooting a tremendous 47.2 percent from the field. Also, they dominate on the boards, out-rebounding opponents by 3.9 rebounds per game.

On the road, the Grizzlies struggle. They score 86.7 points per game while shooting worse than 40 percent. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies lose the rebounding battle by more than two per game. 

Fortunately, for Memphis, it'll play nine of its remaining 11 games at home. That should put the Grizzlies back on track. The Grizzlies can score at a high rate and win by nice margins, and Gasol can reliably hit shots and complement Gay in the offense.

The rest of February should see the Grizzlies playing like themselves since they'll be at home most of the time. Maybe that—along with the return of Zach Randolph in late February or early March—will put them on a steady course.