The Memphis Grizzlies once again failed to tally a regular season win with a 94-85 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The loss wasnÕt due to a lack of effort from Memphis center Lorenzen Wright, who scored 33 points and pulled in 26 rebounds. The effort solidifies WrightÕs place as one of the leagueÕs 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. ÒWe had one of those offensive nights again,Ó head coach Sidney Lowe said after the game with an intentional pun. ÒWe didnÕt shoot the ball well. You canÕt win like that.Ó
But Lowe was quick to point out the positives of the game, starting with Wright. ÒLorenzen had a monster game,Ó Lowe said. ÒYou can count on him playing hard every night.Ó However, Lowe also knows that this Memphis squad has very little margin for error. ÒWe donÕt have a guy to go to and carry us. When we have five or six guys [who perform], we can win games.Ó
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. ÒHeÕs just having a tough time shooting the ball,Ó Lowe said. ÒBut, as a coach, thereÕs not much you can do.Ó
Also problematic are Grizzlies turnovers. The Grizz gave up 20 possessions worth 17 MavericksÕ 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 wasnÕt looking for the play. The result was that instead of cutting the MavericksÕ lead to three, MavericksÕ guard Tim Hardaway stole the ball, passed to guard Mike Finley, and Finley dunked it to make the lead seven.
ÒIÕve never been with a point guard who passes that way,Ó Wright, who was playing on his 26th birthday, said after the game. ÒWe have to learn how to play with each other.Ó
Wright also talked a little about this seasonÕs early losing streak. ÒWe hate to lose,Ó he said. ÒWeÕre working so hard.Ó About his own big game, Wright is as humble as his numbers are audacious. ÒIÕm always a rebounder first,Ó he said. ÒI took advantage of opportunities. I donÕt need to be anything. I just need to win.Ó
In his way during the game was Howard who scored 36 points, leading all scorers. The MavericksÕ only other offense was from guard Michael Finley who scored 24 points. Back up guard Tim Hardaway contributed 13. In the rebounding category, MavericksÕ 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.