With the FedExForum buzzing with energy from MLK Day events and the New Orleans Pelicans weighted by an eight-game losing streak, the Grizzlies laid an egg, dropping a 95-92 decision.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Pelicans over the Grizzlies
Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 23 points and a game-high 20 rebounds, his first 20-20 game since December of 2012. Courtney Lee pitched in 19 points.
"We just have to keep playing," Randolph said. "We have to get stops. Our defense was horrible tonight."
The Grizzlies had a problem defending former Memphis Tigers star Tyreke Evans at the rim. The Pelicans outscored the Grizzlies in the paint 40-36 and led by as many as 10 points. Lee led all scorers by halftime with 10 points, finishing with 19 points. Marc Gasol pitched in 14.
In the third quarter, the match-up between Pelicans big man Anthony Davis and Randolph emerged as the two went toe-to-toe. Davis led all scorers, scoring 21 of his 27 points in the second half.
The Grizzlies have been known for late fourth-quarter presses that lead to victory but the pesky Pelicans would not bow down. Memphis committed 18 turnovers to the Pelicans' 10. And while the Grizzlies came within two points (93-91) late, they could not catch the Pelicans.
"We are not going to play better until we play harder," said Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger. "We have to play harder, we have to run harder, we have to screen harder and we have to defend harder from the first minute of the game. We cannot try and wait until there are five or six minutes left in the game and try to go like crazy."
The Pelicans' Eric Gordon credited New Orleans' defense.
"We knew they always go down to Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Randolph had a big game. They both did, but they both didn't' take over the game like that usually do. We just played really good defense."
NOTE: The Grizzlies will play the Houston Rockets on Friday in Houston and on Saturday at the FedExForum.