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Mario Chalmers shoulders blame for late-game mistakes vs. Orlando Magic

From NBA media reports

Few NBA observers would have pegged the Memphis Grizzlies to be 5-3 this early into the 2017-18 season. After some late miscues by fill-in point guard Mario Chalmers in last night’s loss to the Orlando Magic, the Grizzlies know they could easily be 6-2 right now.

* Recap: Magic 101, Grizzlies 99

Late in the fourth quarter, Chalmers had what appeared to be an easy fast-break layup. But instead of scoring, he slowed down and tried to draw a foul on trailing big man Nikola Vucevic and ended up missing the shot. That sequence drew the ire of coach David Fizdale in the moment and after the game, but Chalmers, to his credit, took full blame for his mistakes after the game. Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal has more:

A livid Fizdale greeted Chalmers with expletives as he returned to the bench. Reserve swingman Tyreke Evans stepped in between them.

“Well, Mario made a ridiculous play. I don’t really need to go too deep into that,” Fizdale said. “He heard it from me, and he understands that. In the heat of the moment, he couldn’t own it. And that’s exactly what I meant. Twenty-five thousand people were in here and saw that was the most ridiculous play of the whole game, but because his brain was gone (in that moment), he couldn’t own that it was a bonehead play.”

“(Fizdale) is 100 percent right. I take ownership for the last plays – the turnover, the missed three… that’s on me,” Chalmers said. “I have to take control, run the team like Mike runs the team and I didn’t do that.”

When asked about the botched layup attempt, Chalmers said: “I shouldn’t have even worried about the foul. That’s all on me. I feel like I lost the game for us.”

Fizdale also said after the game that timeouts last night were not productive, with finger-pointing and bickering being a constant problem.

“Every time there was an issue or a problem, we couldn’t solve the problem,” Fizdale said. “It was a mess. Obviously, connection and communication is something that I stress a lot with these guys. We’ve got a lot of new faces combining with some old faces that we’re trying to blend.

“We’re also trying to acclimate guys to a winning culture, teaching them how to understand when adversity hits how you’re supposed to respond to that. Some of these guys haven’t been through that yet from the standpoint of the accountability and what’s expected. So that’s part of the growing pains.”

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