Halloween arrives early for Grizzlies

Mike Conley and the Grizzlies couldn't shoot straight against a stifling Cavs defense in the season opener.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Historically, the Grizzlies have not been very good in season openers in the 15 years since relocating to Memphis from Vancouver. This one was as bad as ever.

The lone win was last season against the Timberwovles (105-101). But the home opener Wednesday, was filled with atrocities. So Halloween came a bit early for the Grizzlies, a 106-76 victim of the Cavaliers.

This Grizzly nightmare started early in the first quarter. The Cavaliers outscored the Grizzlies 26-10. That’s right — the Grizzlies were only able to amass 10 entire points for the entire first quarter of the first game. The Cavaliers went 10-of-20 shooting; the Grizzlies were a dreadful 4-of-21 shooting. That’s what’s called a dismal display from the home team.

It gets worse: With 7:16 left in the first half, the Grizzlies were shooting an abysmal 15.2 percent and the Cavs held a 41-14 lead.

Finally, late in the second quarter, the Grizzlies showed some tenacity. Still, the Cavs lead 53-32 at halftime — with the Grizzlies shooting 27.9 percent (12-of-44) and the Cavs at 51.2 percent (21-of-43).

The Grizzlies’ tried to mount a comeback in the third quarter — where they actually made 10 of 17 field-goal attempts. But it wasn’t enough. The Cavs just kept pouncing whenever the Grizzlies seemed like they would put together a run.

Analysis

1. The Grizzlies didn’t seem prepared for the home opener. They just didn’t have it and the Cavs didn’t let up. For the Grizzlies, it’s a great thing that they have 81 more games left in the season.

2. It’s early in the season and the coaching staff has a chance to get the offense to where it needs to be. This Grizzlies team isn’t designed to blow people out. They are not an offensively potent team. That’s not who they are. But they must find a way to score if they want to be playing in June.

3. On the bright side for the Grizzlies, four of the five Southwest Division teams lost their season opener.

4. The Grizzlies have a chance to redeem themselves Thursdsay as they take on the Pacers at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis at 6 pm.

Player Notes

  • Zach Randolph ended with 12 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes.
  • Marc Gasol chipped in 12 points and five rebounds.
  • Kevin Love recorded his first double-double of the season. He had 17 points and 13 rebounds, adding three assists.
  • Richard Jefferson contributed a season-high 14 points.
  • Matthew Dellavedova and Jared Cunningham each contributed 12 points.
  • LeBron James had 12 points, seven rebound and five assists.

Quotables

Grizzlies Dave Joerger

“Tough game for the home team. I thought our inability to score the basketball carried over to our defense and that cannot happen. You’re going to have lulls throughout games offensively, but we lost our composure and it carried over to our defense. We are not a high-scoring team. What did they hit, 12 or 13 threes? We lost the three-point battle by 11 tonight. That’s going to happen more often than not. But our defense has to stay composed if our offense is struggling.”

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol

“Offensively, we were trying to be super heroes and play without passing and making our own decisions and not really executing. It was a really bad game all around. Defensively, there were too many breakdowns, too many ‘my bads’ and too many ‘my faults’ from everybody.”

Grizzlies swingman Tony Allen

“That was ugly. There ain’t no other way to put it. That was just bad. You want a better start. You want to start off the season on a good note. One thing that’s for sure is our confidence isn’t shaken. We still believe. We’re a strong-minded bunch. The greatest thing about the NBA is you get to bounce back tomorrow. This is one of those games you just want to throw away, but learn from it as well. You look at how they beat us. We had mishaps on coverages. Being over-excited had us kind of rattled a little bit. Bouncing back is the key right now.”

Sharon Brown covers the Grizzlies and NBA for Amico Hoops. Twitter: FoxxyShyD.