When teams travel to Memphis and the FedEx Forum, they know the matchup will be very hard to win. This is almost mission impossible this season as the Grizzlies have an impressive record of twenty wins for three losses (Boston, Sacramento and Phoenix) at home.
On the other hand, when Ja Morant and his band travel, it’s not the same story. The proof: Taylor Jenkins’ men have recorded 12 losses in 21 games, the latest in Phoenix on Sunday night. Faced with this observation, how can we explain that Memphis shows two different faces?
“We must have a better mentality out there”the coach responded to The Athletic. “We are less than 50% of away wins. Regardless of our group and our opponent, we have to do better. We have to start the matches better, with a warrior mentality. We have been good for the last two years and this season we are struggling. »
“Good teams win at home and great teams win”
Taylor Jenkins has a good memory because in 2020/2021, he and his players won 20 out of 36 matches in Memphis. Last season was better with 26 victories in 41 matches. The Grizzlies have done that before, so they can do better, even if most franchises (especially in the West) have struggled on the road this season.
“Good teams win at home and great teams win,” recalls Ja Morant. “It’s been our identity since I’ve been here, to be warriors on the outside. But this year, we didn’t manage to have that strength. »
One of the keys to this drop in level and results is the lack of strength in their defense. The Grizzlies are allowing just 106.4 points per 100 possessions at FedEx Forum, and have the league’s best defense at home. When they play outside, they only score 112 points from 100 possessions, which is still an excellent figure (6th defense outside). However, this changes everything.
Why? Because when Jaren Jackson Jr. blocks. of shots, pressuring defenders and stopping forwards, Taylor Jenkins’ troops can get balls and run. Ja Morant is terrible in transition, so are the Grizzlies.
“We can’t be perfect every night but I always push our mentality”
This season, regardless of the room, once the front defenses are in place, in the half court, Memphis has been less comfortable averaging 95 points per 100 possessions. So a less strong defense is a less sharp attack. Result: 111.8 points per 100 possessions, versus 117.4 at home. A comparison of efficiency, offensive and defensive, clearly proves that the Grizzlies have two faces.
“We are good at home. We have to find a way to get this mentality out there,” announced Taylor Jenkins. “We can’t just attack him once, we have to be the aggressor. »
The Suns matchup showed this since the Grizzlies started the game so badly, facing a Chris Paul back and dominating the first quarter. They trailed by as many as 29 points before reacting, coming back but ultimately falling narrowly.
“We always find a way to win matches, which is consistent with us”, coach said. “Whether we are ahead or behind, in trouble in attack or in defence, together, we can find ourselves and turn the tide. I want us to be consistent for 48 minutes. We can’t be perfect every night but I always push our mentality. »
After two losses to the Lakers and the Suns, the Grizzlies still have three games in a row on their “road trip”, in Sacramento tonight, Golden State and Minnesota, to raise the level.
|Jaren Jackson, Jr.||29||26.4||50.9||36.4||77.5||1.9||4.9||6.8||0.9||1.5||1.1||3.3||3.1||16.4|
|Xavier Tillman, Sr.||27||11.3||58.6||30.0||50.0||1.3||1.6||2.9||0.6||0.4||0.5||0.3||1.0||4.5|
|Kenny Lofton, Jr.||6||4.0||46.7||0.0||33.3||0.2||0.5||0.7||0.7||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.5||2.5|
|Vincent Williams, Jr.||8||5.5||27.3||12.5||0.0||0.1||0.5||0.6||0.4||0.0||0.5||0.1||0.6||0.9|