Grizzlies Grades: Memphis Grizzlies at Utah Jazz

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Grizzlies 91 - Jazz 87

STARTERS

Zach Randolph : (A-) 36 MIN | 22 PTS | 8-18 FG | 13 REB | 3 AST | 3 TO | +8

After squaring off just a week ago, the Jazz got a sniff of what it takes to beat the Grizzlies big men. The plan against Zbo was simple, to show more energy and be the aggressor so Zach won't be able to bully you around. The strategy worked like a charm throughout the 1st half, frustrating Zbo into hurried or rejected shots. However, Zach extended his range and started hitting mid range jumpers. The Jazz could live with him taking those shots but in the end, great adjustments were made by Zbo to adapt to what the defense gave him while not easing up on the glass ended up paying serious dividends, as the Jazz big men were finally worn out during crunch time. Master class patience shown by Zbo.

Tayshaun Prince : (D+) 20 MIN | 4 PTS | 2-6 FG | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | +1

Prince is a hound guarding the likes of Lebron and Paul George, but once again had trouble checking an way-over-the-hill Jefferson, as Prince played down to his competition by over-helping on defense, resulting in plenty of open opportunities for Jefferson. His offense and other contributions went back to his normal shell, to have two straight offensive explosions for Prince is like having lightning strike twice, not gonna happen.

Marc Gasol : (A-) 35 MIN | 18 PTS | 7-12 FG | 7 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 TO | +4

Just like Randolph, Marc had problems matching his young opponent Kanter's energy throughout the 1st half, but adapted by taking and making outside shots while connecting on crisp passes from the top of the key to draw Kanter outside of his comfort zone. Once the paint opened up, Marc consistently attacked the basket by wrong footing his defenders into fouling him. Excellent adaptability from both big men tonight has proven that they are playing with their brain as well as their brawn.

Courtney Lee : (D-) 19 MIN | 0 PTS | 0-2 FG | 3 REB | +1

The most troubling aspect of his recent slump has not been the missed shots, but the lack of shot attempts period, a tale-tell sign of passiveness and unwillingness to look for his own offense. Whether it's the fact that the Grizzlies big three are all playing so well, or having to defend some tough, taller opponents in recent games (i.e. Wade, Stephenson, Martin, Hayward), I tend to think it's more of the latter. It will be imperative for Lee to find that burning desire to contribute on offense again. If he needs motivation, look no further than taking a page out of Miller's book. No hesitation required, just pull the trigger. He's good enough to not think about the ramifications.

Mike Conley : (A-) 33 MIN | 19 PTS | 7-14 FG | 1 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 2 TO | +7

The level of consistency and leadership that the Grizzlies Big Three have been displaying is absolutely amazing to watch. The Grizzlies were on the treadmill during this entire game, most viewers (including the commentators and myself) sensed that this game would be lost, but Conley, Gasol and Zbo refused to admit defeat, they just kept plugging away and would not give up the fight, an intangible that even last year's successful campaign would have a hard time to match. A true sign that these three men have stepped up and taken their game to a whole new level.

BENCH

Tony Allen : (D+) 10 MIN | 0 PTS | 0-5 FG | 4 REB | 1 BLK | 1 TO | -4

Feast or famine, that is usually the case with Tony Allen. Missed a plethora of easy opportunities that he's been making in his sleep. Will need to find some renewed focus at the rim in order to regain some lost confidence.

Nick Calathes : (A-) 15 MIN | 9 PTS | 4-6 FG | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 TO | -3

This is exactly what an ideal backup PG should be. No ego, cheap rookie contract, instant contributions on the court whether it shows up on the boxscore or not. 15 minutes of stat stuffing has made Grizzlies fans completely forget that just a few months ago we were calling for a Keyon Dooling type signing. Thank god the FO has kept the faith and now they look like absolute geniuses.

Mike Miller : (A-) 28 MIN | 9 PTS | 3-6 FG | 2-3 3P | 4 REB | 4 AST | +3

Miller has really picked up the slack that Lee has left behind, it's almost like he stole all of Lee's confidence and poured it all over himself. The difference in performance right now is purely on their respective mentalities on offense. Miller's epiphany that made him realise he was bought to Memphis for one thing and one thing only - to shoot the rock, has taken away all his hesitation on the court. Two timely threes during the 4th quarter gave the Grizzlies a massive boost, the latter tying up the game in which they would never look back.

Kosta Koufos : (B-) 18 MIN | 6 PTS | 3-4 FG | 2 REB | 1 BLK | -1

Came into the game early as Gasol had to nurse his two early fouls. Excellent positioning on the offensive end resulted in easy finishes. Koufos also had trouble matching the athleticism of the Jazz young frontcourt as he was frequently outworked on the boards, which is something that the Grizzlies fans don't see too often. His play will be crucial the next two games against the Warriors and Blazers as the Grizzlies bench should have a decided advantage against both teams.

James Johnson : (C) 18 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-4 FG | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 TO | +6

Showed slight improvement by staying within the offense a bit more last night. However he had a lot of trouble finishing as he tried to out-leap the Jazz big men at the rim without much success. His recent lack of playing time has definitely affected his mojo as he tries to find the balance between chaos and control. With a bit of patience he should find that confidence once again.

Jon Leuer : (C+) 8 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-2 FG | 1 REB | -2

Don't really agree with putting someone in early but only having a tiny amount of playing time, just doesn't give the player a fair shot at contributing in a meaningful way, however Joerger must have realised quickly that Leuer would have difficulty against Favors so decided against the risk of falling further back on the scoreboard. Must be frustrating for The Leuertenant but he will move on, like he always does.

OPPONENT

Utah Jazz : (B-)

Did everything absolutely right for 45 minutes last night by dominating their matchups inside while raining jumpers from the outside. But as one of the youngest team in the NBA, closing out games is a work of art that needs to be acquired through painful losses just like this game. The crowd still appreciated their effort after a few recent subpar games. Their goal from this point onward would be to continue to show effort and hustle while gearing up to become spoilers in the playoffs race, they were almost successful in doing so this game but the Grizzlies Big Three snapped victory from the jaws of defeat.

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