Last night, the Grizzlies lost another game in Los Angeles to a team they should’ve beaten because of a failure to execute on offense and an inability to get stops on defense. It was a different mode of failure from Tuesday night’s disappointment against the Lakers, but the overall vibe was the same: one of muted, disorganized, unfocused futility.
Chandler Parsons was out, in keeping with the Grizzlies’ pattern of resting him on the second night of back-to-backs. JaMychal Green was out with a facial fracture suffered in a collision with Timofey Mozgov’s elbow in Tuesday night’s game. That meant Jarell Martin was thrust into a starting role at power forward, and it didn’t go well for him. He struggled to defend without fouling, and eventually only managed to play 12 minutes in a game he started—not a great night.
But nothing about either of the Grizzlies’ recent nights in L.A. has been great. From coming out flat after three days off and getting smoked by an enthusiastic-but-inferior Lakers team, to a Twitter uproar about Parsons’ TMZ-reported exploits on a night between back-to-back games (which I had to break out into its own sidebar below), to having a great 34-point second quarter against the Clippers and then checking out for the rest of the game, it's all been an unpleasant mélange of boredom, one that required the home fans to stay up late to be let down.
Am I worried about where that leaves the Grizzlies, headed to a Friday night rematch with the Golden State Warriors and a tough little stretch of schedule ahead? Not really. They're going to muddle through and come out the other side. But the signs are there that until the same guys are consistently on the floor together, the chemistry is going to be weird. Which makes sense. Parsons isn't playing every game. Green is injured. Conley was back and then out again and now he's back again. Ennis starts sometimes, and sometimes doesn't. It's hard to maintain consistent effort and execution when your roles are still unsettled, and we know from years of experience with this team that when the effort isn't there, they lose to teams they should beat. It might be a bumpy week or two, which Grizzlies fans should maybe just consider fair payback for the insane streak they went on when Conley was out. I still think they'll be fine.