Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger entered the interview room with his usual demeanor – calm. Memphis had just suffered a fourth straight loss at the FedExForum, losing to the struggling Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.
"I have no idea to be honest," Joerger said, responding to a question about why the team is having such success on the road (five consecutive victories), yet struggling for a win at home.
"I don't know why we ease into games. It's something that I've talked about in the first three timeouts. We have to hit, we have to screen, we have to get people off of Mike Conley and we have got to get Mike Conley off a big number. We just let them get their hands on us and muck everything up."
For Memphis (8-8), Quincy Pondexter was a spark off the bench, scoring 22 points. Pondexter had been seeing little to no playing time in the last few games. However. he says that doesn't bother him. He just wants his team to win.
"It would have felt better if we got the win," Pondexter said. "It was a tough loss, especially at home. We want to win playing at home. We have to clean up some things and chip away some wins."
Pondexter said he doesn't know why they are losing at home compared to success on the road.
"I'll have to look at film and find out why we're not playing better at home as we do on the road," he said. "We've been a great road team lately. We just have to find out a way to get some wins."
Joerger said the Grizzlies "didn't come with the attitude of putting their identity on the game."
So what is the Grizzlies identity? The quick-and-easy answer used to points in the paint and defense. Now, nobody really knows.
In the starting lineup was Tayshaun Prince, Tony Allen, Conley, Ed Davis and Kosta Koufus. It was the first time Memphis had played a regular season game without Marc Gasol (left MCL sprain) and Zach Randolph (toe injury) since Randolph joined the Grizzlies at the start of the 2009-10 season.
"The identity is ever-changing without Marc (Gasol) and without Zach (Randolph)," Joerger explained. "It doesn't really matter who you have playing. We should be able to get on people defensively; we should help each other and be very active in trying to do those things defensively although the offense may change at times.
"We doubled the post tonight for the first time after (Brook) Lopez (20 points, 9 rebounds) got going. It's just that sometimes things are going to have to change without other guys in there."
Saturday's loss snapped Memphis' three game winning streak against the Nets. The Nets won for the first time this season when being outscored in the third quarter.
After Memphis cut Brooklyn's lead to one with 9:41 left in the fourth quarter (75-74), the Nets went on a 21-6 run to take a game-high, 16-point lead (96-80) with 2:43 to go in the game.
Conley scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, his second double-double in the last three games. Koufos recorded his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Grizzlies were outrebounded 39-33. The Grizzlies only scored four second-chance points compared to the Nets' 10. There were two lead changes and the game was tied four times. The biggest Brooklyn lead was 16 and the Grizzlies led by as many as five.
The Nets' Joe Johnson led all scorers with 26 points. He noted how hard the Grizzlies played without Gasol and Randolph.
"They still played hard," Johnson said of the Grizzlies. "This is part of the NBA, injuries happen. Guys are going to be out. You can't feel sorry for yourself. We've been going through that all year."
Andray Blatche came off the bench for the Nets with 21 points and eight rebounds while making all of his three-point attempts.
"It was easier defensively," Blatche said of not playing against Randolph and Gasol. "Zach Randolph – he's a problem in the post. And so is Gasol. Pondexter stepped up for them. Because of our defense, we came up with the win."