The locker room was more quiet than usual on Sunday night (Dec. 15). Players were dressing and packing their post-game gear to leave the FedExForum.
Grizzlies guard Mike Conley sat in his area, with a small machine connected to his left thigh. The device pushes electricity through the muscles to help with swelling, something Conley needed after taking a hit to the thigh and leaving the game with 3:54 left to play.
Conley led the Grizzlies with 28 points but it wasn't enough to lead the team to a win as the Minnesota Timberwolves downed Memphis 101-93.
"I caught a knee on it the last play I was in the game," Conley said. "I tried to put pressure on it and tried to move and I couldn't so I had them take me out."
Conley's painful departure was played out amid an injured list that reflects a hobbled team. With a 10-13 record, Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger says the team just has to keep playing.
"Things have gone our way for the last four years," Joerger said. Last year, we were one of the least injured teams. I've been here. I've seen it. We've had some non-injury times. It seems like it's our turn to catch that bug I guess."
Despite the injuries, the bottom line is that the Grizzlies have to find a way to combat the lack of offensive drive and man-to-man coverage and focus more on holding early leads.
"We have to have more of a sense of urgency coming into the game and playing with that sense of urgency for 48 minutes," said Tony Allen, who was back in his starting guard spot after having been out with injuries. "They were the aggressors tonight and they deserved to win."
With the help of Jon Leuer and Jarryd Bayless off the bench, the Grizzlies brought the game within three points in the third quarter.
Memphis later cut Minnesota's lead to just two points (81-79) with 9:44 left in the fourth quarter. The Timberwolves responded with a 9-2 run to take a 90-81 lead with 6:34 left in the quarter. The Grizzlies found their way back once again, cutting the deficit to four points (95-91) with 2:26 left to play.
The loss ended the 11-game Grizzlies winning streak (nine at home) against the Timberwolves. For Minnesota, Kevin Love finished with a game-high 30 points. Nikola Pekovic followed with 19 points. J.J. Barea came off the bench with 15 points and Corey Brewer put in nine points and 12 rebounds.
"Mike Conley had a great game," Love said. "Zach Randolph stepped up in the second half. They are tough to contain even if they have injuries or not. They have played together for a while. They wanted to put different guys on me to make sure that I couldn't get any real open looks."
Randolph ended with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Leuer had 15 points off the bench.
"They have been able to handle us pretty good," said Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. "You knew that they were going to make their run. That is what Memphis does. Having a big lead in the first half means nothing in this league. In the second half, we needed to respond every time that they did. We did that."
NOTE: Next up for the Grizzlies are Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday at FedExForum.