The Memphis Grizzlies once again failed to tally a regular season win with a 94-85 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The loss wasnt due to a lack of effort from the birthday boy, Memphis center Lorenzen Wright, who scored 33 points and pulled in 26 rebounds. The effort solidifies Wrights place as one of the leagues top five rebounders.
But that was about all the Grizzlies had going. Point guard Jason Williams scored 21 points and forward Shane Battier scored 11 and recorded four steals in the losing effort.
But in an evening that featured a lackluster Dallas Mavericks team (with the exception of Juwan Howard, see below), the Grizzlies squandered opportunity after opportunity with turnovers, bad shots, and a general lack of hustle.
All that, and the team shot poorly, hitting only 34% of their shots. We had one of those offensive nights again, head coach Sidney Lowe said after the game with an intentional pun. We didnt shoot the ball well. You cant win like that.
But Lowe was quick to point out the positives of the game, starting with Wright. Lorenzen had a monster game, Lowe said. You can count on him playing hard every night. However, Lowe also knows that this Memphis squad has very little margin for error. We dont have a guy to go to and carry us. When we have five or six guys [who perform], we can win games.
Of the negatives, Lowe mentioned again the lack of shooting prowess by the team. Most notably there is shooting guard Michael Dickerson, who scored only 3 points this game. Hes just having a tough time shooting the ball, Lowe said. But, as a coach, theres not much you can do.
Also problematic are Grizzlies turnovers. The Grizz gave up 20 possessions worth 17 Mavericks points this evening with point guard Jason Williams accounting for five of them, including a critical turnover late in the game when Williams tried a behind the back lob to Wright who wasnt looking for the play. The result was that instead of cutting the Mavericks lead to three, Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway stole the ball, passed to guard Mike Finley, and Finley dunked it to make the lead seven.
Ive never been with a point guard who passes that way, Wright, who was playing on his 26th birthday, said after the game. We have to learn how to play with each other.
Wright also talked a little about this seasons early losing streak. We hate to lose, he said. Were working so hard. About his own big game, Wright is as humble as his numbers are audacious. Im always a rebounder first, he said. I took advantage of opportunities. I dont need to be anything. I just need to win.
In his way during the game was Howard who scored 36 points, leading all scorers. The Mavericks only other offense was from guard Michael Finley who scored 24 points. Back up guard Tim Hardaway contributed 13. In the rebounding category, Mavericks forward Danny Manning pulled in 11.
The Grizzlies go on the road for the next three games, traveling to the Phoenix Suns, the L.A. Clippers, and the L.A. Lakers.