The Memphis Grizzlies are trying to work their way back to grit-and-grind basketball and apparently it's going to take some time.
After back-to-back losses and the All-Star Game break looming, the Grizzlies are a team experiencing the pain associated with attempting to regroup and grow on the fly.
On Wednesday, Memphis suffered a 103-92 loss on the road to the Atlanta Hawks. The day before (Feb. 5), the Phoenix Suns took them down (96-90) at the FedExForum.
It all comes down to finding the team chemistry with the new pieces that are in the puzzle and finding ways to play to their strengths.
Against Phoenix, the Grizzlies showed glimpses of playing as a unit, but it all fell apart in the final frame.
The Grizzlies have played the Suns four times and the series is split 2-2 for the season. Phoenix out-rebounded the Grizzlies 40-34. Memphis forced 22 turnovers.
"The disappointing part is that they outscored us in the paint 52-40 and they got 11 offensive rebounds for 16 second-chance points," said Grizz head coach Lionel Hollins.
Phoenix outscored Memphis 31-19 in the fourth quarter. Suns guard Goran Dragic finished the game with 17 points, including 15 scored down the stretch.
Dragic said it feels good when you win those kinds of games.
"In the fourth quarter, I was playing off the ball," Dragic said. "I just got momentum. I was feeling great and scored off some baskets."
Grizz guard Jerryd Bayless led all scorers with 29 points off the bench. All-Star Zach Randolph has been in an offensive slump lately, but he got it together to pitch in 21 points and 13 rebounds. New Grizz Tayshaun Prince finished with 11 points.
Randolph took only one shot in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't look inside," Hollins said. "I will take the blame for that."
"It's a real frustrating loss," Randolph said. "I feel like we should have won the game (against Phoenix). We had a chance to win and we didn't get the win. It takes time to get acclimated and get all of the plays. It's a variety of things. It's a tough loss, a disappointing loss. We should have won the game."
Center Marc Gasol finished with six points and fouled out in the fourth quarter. Starting point guard Mike Conley finished with nine points.
"It's a work in progress," said Conley. "We have to find plays everyone is familiar and comfortable with. We just have some times where we have miscommunication with new guys and older guys who have been here. We just have to do a better job finding plays that work for everyone."
Marcin Gortat led the Suns with 20 points and Jermaine O'Neal scored 14 off the bench.
Last night in Atlanta, Randolph led the team with 20 points. Conley finished with 17 and Bayless continued to be a spark off the bench pitching in 17.
The Grizzlies will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday at FedExForum.