For the better part of the last decade, the Memphis Grizzlies have been known for their “grit and grind” era, which emphasizes tough, hard-nosed basketball.
That mentality, which shuns the finesse style of basketball taking place around the NBA, apparently spilled over into the locker room after the team’s loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
According to reports, Grizzlies veterans Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi got into a physical altercation during a postgame meeting in the locker room.
Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the postgame discussion among players centered around the Memphis starters questioning the effort and enthusiasm of the Grizzlies’ bench players.
Temple is part of the starting unit, while Casspi comes off the bench. The two vets reportedly exchanged words and had a physical exchange before being separated.
The team meeting continued for about 30 minutes after the altercation took place, and then coach J.B. Bickerstaff finally emerged to address the media.
“A conversation that needed to be had that will stay between those of us that were in that locker room,” Bickerstaff said about the long wait before his news conference.
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
When asked about the game itself and the offensive problems the Grizzlies had, Bickerstaff shifted the conversation back to “larger issues.”
“I think addressing larger issues was the conversation that we needed to have,” he said. “Right now it’s not X’s and O’s that need to be resolved. We resolved some of those issues tonight.”
After not making the playoffs last year for the first time in eight seasons, the Grizzlies brought in Temple and Casspi to provide leadership to a roster with six players 25 or younger.
Temple has started every game this season and is averaging a career high of 10.4 points per game at the age of 32.
Casspi is on his fifth team since 2017, and the 10-year veteran has been a DNP-CD for many games. In Wednesday’s game, Casspi was scoreless in five minutes of action.
Losing undoubtedly played a role in the players’ frustrations as the Grizzlies have dropped eight of their last 10 games.
The team’s leading scorer, Mike Conley, wouldn’t reveal details of the exchange between his teammates, but he labeled the meeting as “productive.”
“It’s not the first talk we’ve had this season,” Conley told reporters. “We’ve had plenty of talks as a team. We try to be honest with each other and move forward.”
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