NBA Breakfast Special: Memphis Grizzlies Start Collapse Early

The Memphis Grizzlies, rather than collapse down the stretch in March and April and limp into the playoffs as a sacrificial lamb to a much better team, have decided instead this year to have everything go to hell before the holiday shopping season’s even gotten started.

Memphis lost at home to the Brooklyn Nets 98-88, giving the teams identical 7-12 records. Thing is, Memphis got there by losing eight in a row after starting 7-4; Brooklyn’s just always been lousy, as they’ve been ever since they mortgaged the future on an over-the-hill Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, which ought to make Billy King a post-facto Executive of the Year if the Celtics go to the Finals this year.

DeMarre Carroll led the way for Brooklyn with 24 points on 7-of-12, while Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans both had 18 for Memphis, but neither was terribly efficient in getting there; Gasol was 6-of-17 while Evans was 5-of-15, a combined 34,4 percent.

Worse still, Gasol sat the fourth quarter, which is the first step on the road to coach David Fizdale losing control of the locker room. This will get ugly very soon.

Brooklyn won the rebounding battle 43-35, including 12 offensive boards, a solid third of the available total. When you can’t limit your opponent to one shot and your opponent is more accurate to begin with, you’re gonna have a bad time.

And for Grizz fans, they are having a very, very bad time. The team that twice beat Houston and polished off Golden State looks a million miles away.

Oh, and did we mention Trevor Booker was solid off the bench? Because he was, to the tune of 16 points and 11 rebounds on 6-of-10 from the field:

And how about Carroll, just one basket shy of a career high scoring:

How To Wreck the Phoenix Suns, A Play In Four 12-Minute Acts

Minnesota had one of the more bizarre stat lines tonight. Not because they shot 52.7 percent as a team; that’s good but not mind-bending.

No, what jumps out as a “how on earth” moment was the Wolves’ 19 offensive rebounds…on just 45 opportunities between the field (49-of-93) and the line (12-of-17.) That’s 42.2 percent.

Or, put another way, the Suns had a defensive rebounding percentage of just 57.8. The worst team in the league through Saturday’s games, Atlanta, has a 74.2 defensive rebounding clip.

So even though the Suns shot the lights out themselves, to the tune of .506/.500/.750, the combination of losing the turnover battle (15-10) and getting dominated on the glass (48-37 overall) ensured their 119-108 defeat.

Taj Gibson had 16 points and 14 boards, seven off his own team’s misses; Karl-Anthony Towns added 32 points on 12-of-26 shooting and 12 rebounds, five offensive.

Jimmy Butler had 25 on 11-of-19; Andrew Wiggins completed the Triple 20 with 21 points on 8-of-18.

Tyus Jones gets the all-rounder stat of the night though; he had nine points on 3-of-6 and combined it with seven assists and seven steals. He even had four boards and two blocks, not bad for a point guard who’s only 6’2”.

Minnesota riffed on the performance:

Towns and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Shoes get the man of the match honors:

And why not give Jones a little love for the quick hands:

And Finally…

Speaking of teams who decided not to wait this year, Miami decided not to wait until they were 11-30 to start making a playoff run. The team is 10-9 after a 100-93 win Sunday and sitting in a three-way tie for seventh and just two and a half back of second-place Detroit in the East.

It helps when you go to Chicago and get a Bulls team that despite shooting 14-of-33 (42.4 percent) from three, scored only 93 points mainly because they were a horrific 19-of-56 (33.9 percent) on two-point shots to put up a 37.1 shooting night overall.

Kris Dunn was 0-of-6 and Antonio Blakeney was 1-of-7 for the Bulls, hanging a big anchor around their necks that wasn’t helped by the fact that only Bobby Portis (4-of-8, 11 points) and Jerami Grant (8-of-16, 24 points) made even half of their shots.

Curiously, Miami had only one offensive rebound. It fell into the hands of Hassan Whiteside, who finished the game with 11 points and nine boards, while Goran Dragic led the way with 24 points on 7-of-11 and all four of the Miami reserves who played in the nine-man rotation scored in double figures (yet bizarrely, Miami did not record a Total Team Effort since only the two starters mentioned scored at least ten.)

The Bulls’ inability to make a two-point basket cost them a winnable game. Dion Waiters was 2-of-10. Josh Richardson had no points in 24 minutes, missing all five of his shots.

Yet Miami shot 45.3 percent overall, thanks mainly to the bench posting a sweet 18-of-33 (54.5 percent) from the field and 8-of-16 (50 percent) from three to cover the sins of the starters’ 16-of-42 (38.1 percent) shooting and 5-of-16 (31.3 percent) from long range.

Miami got away with one, but they all count.

Highlights from America’s Best Slovenian:

And a monster dunk from Whiteside:

Don’t sleep on this Miami team. Some Heat “fans” want them to simply tank, but franchises worth supporting play from jump ball to final whistle, and some end up better than you’d expect as a result.

So that’s your Sunday highlight reel; we’ll be back tomorrow with news, analysis, commentary, and stuff that makes no sense because basketball, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!