They are dealing with wrinkles normally reserved for and ironed out in a month-long training camp.
Only the Grizzlies are more than halfway through the regular-season schedule, which exacerbates their search for timing, suitable lineup rotations, player chemistry and a consistent brand of basketball.
All of those elements were clearly missing Tuesday night, especially in the fourth quarter of the Grizzlies' 96-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns before a crowd of 14,933 in FedExForum.
Griz reserve guard Jerryd Bayless' season-high 29 points couldn't save them.
"We're a work in progress," Griz guard Tony Allen said. "It was a tough loss."
Difficult, too, was watching the Griz carelessly turn the ball over four times in the final three minutes of a one-possession game. And power forward Zach Randolph, who found his muscle inside after a three-game scoring slump, finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds but attempted just one shot in the fourth quarter.
That was problematic.
It didn't help that point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol never found a rhythm and were outplayed at their positions. The Griz were out of sync on both ends of the floor for long stretches in this one.
Defensively, the Griz had no answer for Suns point guard Goran Dragic when it mattered most. He was clutch and tossed in 15 of his 17 points in the fourth. Offensively, the Griz appeared unorganized at times.
Home cooked: Grizzlies fall in ugly loss to Phoenix Suns
Memphis Commercial Appeal | Feb 6