(Cross-Posted from Bleacher Report)
The new-look 2009 Memphis Grizzlies showed a lot of the same weaknesses as teams in the past.
Memphis had 17,000 fans fill FedEx Forum Wednesday night for the 2009 season opening 96-74 loss to the Detroit Pistons (1-0). They saw two glaring holes that must be filled for this team to gain respectability: bench depth and defense.
Preseason injuries did hurt the Grizzlies (0-1) and forced the team to go deeper into their bench. Allen Iverson did not dress for the game and Darrell Arthur is out for four months with an injury.
But the stat line for the current reserves were less than stellar. Rookie DeMarre Carrol, guard Marcus Williams, and second-overall pick Hasheem Thabeet played at least 10 minutes each. The trio combined for only six points, one assist, and nine rebounds. Thabeet had no points and two rebounds in 12 minutes.
Most of the starters played well. Marc Gasol finished with 21 points, 15 boards, and three blocks in 30 minutes of action.
Forward Zach Randolph had 14 points and nine rebounds in his Grizzlies debut. Rudy Gay had 16 points. Only O.J. Mayo (nine points on 2 for 12 shooting) and starting point guard Mike Conley (three points and three assists in 32 minutes) did not play well.
Memphis also could not force turnovers. Detroit committed only nine Detroit turnovers. The Grizzlies had only three steals for the night.
Two of the three steals were made by the reserves after the game was decided. Rip Hamilton scored 25 points on only 19 shots and Ben Gordon came off the bench to score 22 points in 26 minutes by shooting 4 of 7 from three-point range.
Detroit was able to build a 10-point lead just before halftime and Memphis could never challenge.
Things are not going to get easier for Memphis as they host Toronto on Friday. The Raptors (1-0) topped Cleveland 101-91 on Wednesday despite a triple-double by LeBron James.
Notes: The Grizzlies set an NBA record with their ninth straight season-opening loss...Detroit has won eight of their last nine regular season games against Memphis, including a five-game winning streak.