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Grizzlies Off to Rough Start

By William M. Larsha, Jr., Columnist/Sports Reporter

The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

 

MEMPHIS, TN, Dec. 18, 2013- The Memphis Grizzlies came into the 2013-14 NBA season with high hopes and high expectations. Last season the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs. They achieved the most success in franchise history. But questionable off season moves and a rash of injuries have derailed the team so far this season. 

 

The Grizzlies basically fired the best coach in their history in Lionel Hollins due to supposed conflicts with the new management team. That move brought questions from fans and media alike. They hired assistant coach Dave Joerger, who had no previous head coaching experience. Once the dust cleared, it seems the fans were willing to give the new coach a chance since the team was bringing back essentially the same players that went so far last season.

 

After a few bumps to start the season, things looked promising after the Grizzlies won 4 straight games on a west coast road trip. When they returned home to play the San Antonio Spurs however, things began to turn for the worse. Most importantly, their best player, Marc Gassol, got injured with a knee sprain. The injury will keep him from playing until at least mid January. The team then lost reserve Quincy Poindexter for the season with a foot injury. Also, starting guard and defensive stopper Tony Allen missed 4 games with a hip injury. As a result, the team's play suffered and the losses mounted.

 

After losing only 9 home games all of last season, the Grizzlies are currently only 5-10 at home. Their overall record is 10-14. They suffered home losses to the Pelicans, Nets and Raptors. The Grizzlies were expected to easily handle each of these teams at home prior to all of the injuries. Getting behind early in games has cost them wins. Also, they have been outscored in the 4th quarter in all but 2 games thus far.

 

The good news for Grizzlies fans is that it is still relatively early in the season and hope for recovery is still alive. The players have confidence that the ship can be righted once players return from injury. After a 96-92 home loss to the L.A. Lakers on December 17, 2013, Tony Allen said, "We showed signs of being a good team." The team must now see where those signs lead.