The Memphis Grizzlies fell 101-94 to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, marking their third straight loss and their 10th loss in 13 games.
The team sat down to hold a lengthy, private meeting after the loss at FedExForum in Memphis in an effort to figure things out and get them back on track, according to The Athletic. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff took more than 30 minutes to address the media after the game, and the locker room was closed for much longer.
That team meeting, though, reportedly went downhill fast.
NBA veterans Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi were involved in a physical altercation during the emotional meeting, Shams Charania reported.
The Memphis Grizzlies' emotional team meeting after loss to Detroit tonight turned physical in an altercation between veterans Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi in locker room, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 3, 2019
Memphis coaches and players gathered for a team meeting in the locker room after the game, questioning each other about their effort and what each can do to improve, league sources said.
The discussion then turned toward the bench players and a perceived lack of enthusiasm from the unit, when Casspi became vocal in his defense, sources said. Temple and Casspi exchanged words and had a physical exchange before they were separated, according to those sources.
Bickerstaff didn’t say much about what happened behind the closed doors, though he did say they weren’t discussing specific gameplay issues.
“A conversation that needed to be had that will stay between those of us that were in that locker room,” Bickerstaff said, via The Athletic’s Omari Sankofa.
“Addressing larger issues was the conversation that we needed to have. Right now it’s not X’s and O’s that need to be resolved. I think we resolved some of those issues tonight.”
Bickerstaff finally arrives for his postgame presser following a 30 minute wait.
Says there was "a conversation that needed to be had that will stay between those of us that were in the locker room." pic.twitter.com/HbamBKjK8p
— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) January 3, 2019
Temple scored seven points in the loss, shooting 2-of-8 from the field. Casspi only recorded a single rebound in four minutes of playing time.
The duo, who both entered the league at the start of the 2009-10 season, have played together on three separate teams throughout their careers — twice with the Sacramento Kings and again in Memphis this season.
The Grizzlies, who went back and forth with the Pistons throughout the first half, struggled in the second half Wednesday night. They put up just 12 points in the third quarter and fell apart in the fourth, falling into a 14 point hole they just couldn’t climb out of.
Jaren Jackson led Memphis with 26 points, shooting 8-of-11 from the field, and had 10 rebounds. Kyle Anderson added 15 points, and Dillon Brooks put up 14 from the bench. Blake Griffin led the Pistons with 26 points, and Reggie Jackson put up 16.
When the Memphis locker room finally opened up to the media, only Mike Conley and Marc Gasol remained.
“We were openly sharing our thoughts and trying to fix the situation and getting back into being a really good basketball team together and doing the things we need to do to consistently win games,” Gasol told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
While it may seem like a low point, Bickerstaff said it’s how they respond and bounce back that will determine how the rest of the season plays out.
“This is a part of the NBA,” Bickerstaff said, via The Athletic. “All teams go though something like this at some point in time in the year. It’s a matter of how long we choose to stay in it. That’s where we all got to reevaluate what it is that we’re doing, how we’re doing it and who we’re doing it for.”
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