Memphis Grizzlies: 4 Reasons West Coast Road Trip Was a Failure
The Memphis Grizzlies once again failed to make a strong showing on their West Coast road trip. The Grizzlies lost three out of four games on the trip. The first three games went toward the loss column for Memphis.
Beating the Lakers salvaged some good feeling for the trip.
This was something of a repeat of the western road trip in January. Then, the Grizzlies lost three of four. Some of the same issues arose in this trip as in the January one. Frontcourt play wasn't good. The Grizzlies didn't show the kind of energy they would at home.
Follow along for a breakdown of why the Grizzlies fell apart on this road trip.
Marc Gasol Didn't Produce Well Enough
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Marc Gasol's production during the road trip was underwhelming.
He averaged only 12.8 points per game during the trip to go with 8.3 rebounds per game. Besides scoring 22 points against the Portland Trail Blazers, Gasol wasn't a significant presence on offense. He failed to score in double figures against the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers.
Against the Clippers, Gasol shot only 3-of-12. That's against a Clippers team that doesn't defend very well in the post.
Gasol will have to rebound in the upcoming games. The Grizzlies will face more challenges against good teams, and they can't have their Spanish center languishing when it counts.
Zach Randolph's Slow Transition
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Zach Randolph is just getting back to his pre-injury form, and the transition is coming along slowly.
That affected the Grizzlies during the road trip. Randolph averaged 11.5 points on 44 percent from the field. He averaged a subpar 7.8 rebounds per game.
While Randolph was his usual self on the offensive glass, he didn't do his typical job on the defensive boards. In the first three games of the trip, Randolph totaled five or fewer defensive rebounds.
Lionel Hollins ended up putting him on the bench Sunday against the Lakers, starting Marreese Speights instead. Fortunately, Speights and reserve center Hamed Haddadi replaced Randolph's production as Randolph played only 28 minutes. Speights scored 10 points and Haddadi came up with 10 points and six rebounds.
Since the Grizzlies can rarely count on such a game from Haddadi and can't ask Speights to carry the frontcourt down the stretch, Randolph will have to find a way to pick himself up. Hopefully, he was energized by his 12 rebounds against the Lakers.
Defense Was Weak
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The Grizzlies weren't strong on defense during the road trip. They allowed more than their average in scoring defense. The Grizzlies allowed 100 points twice on the road trip. That usually doesn't bode well for them; they're 3-6 when allowing 100 or more.
The Grizzlies couldn't slow down a subpar Sacramento Kings team, as the Kings breezed by the usually tight Grizzlies for 119 points on 53.4 percent from the field.
The Clippers put out a balanced scoring attack en route to 101 points on 50 percent shooting. Blake Griffin's game high in scoring was a mere 20.
Failure to Take Command of Games
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The Grizzlies improperly let opponents leave them in awe in the three losses on the trip.
The Grizzlies couldn't manage to take control of those three games. The Kings led the Grizzlies the entire second half. The Clippers led by eight points or more the rest of the way after going on a run late in the second quarter.
The Trail Blazers led the Grizzlies most of the game. After the Grizzlies rallied in the third quarter, the Blazers downed them with a dynamic fourth, outscoring the Grizzlies 31-24. A decisive 10-5 spurt made it 91-84 with 3:31 left. The Grizzlies just didn't defend well enough to keep themselves in the game.
The game against the Lakers was a happy exception. The Grizzlies led almost all the way, building a 14-point lead in the third quarter.
The Grizzlies will have to find a way to dictate the rhythm of the game down the stretch, especially since they play five of six games on the road after Tuesday.