The Grizzlies went into Charlotte and stretched their winning streak to five games with a wire-to-wire victory over what is a very good team in the East. It ended up a little closer than it looked like it would be at the half, when the Grizzlies led 69-45, but a win is a win.
Now, grade time!
Marc Gasol: B+
Gasol didn’t have a big night scoring (he finished with just 13 points in 34 minutes) but he rounded out his box score with 8 boards, 9 assists, and 3 blocks. It’s nice when Marc can take a game over offensively, but he still found a way to contribute even when his shot wasn’t falling.
Mike Conley: A+
After a couple of off nights after his breakout against the Clippers, Mike Conley got back on track against another tough defensive team in Charlotte. Conley led all scorers with 31 points in 36 minutes, shooting 5-8 from three. He also added 3 steals and a pair of assists on the night.
Best of all, Conley looked aggressive. It doesn’t happen every night, but when Conley is feeling his shot and can take over a game, it’s fun to watch.
JaMychal Green: B+
JaMychal was a +12 on the night, and managed to only foul three times in 30 minutes of action. He scored 12 points on a perfect 4-4 from the floor, though he didn’t take any shots from outside the three point line.
Tony Allen: A
Since returning from injury on Friday, Allen has looked much better. He’s been his usual energetic defensive self, darting into passing lanes and hassling ball handlers. In addition to his defense, Allen also contributed 12 points on the game and tied Mike Conley for the team lead in +/- with +20. Also, Allen got caught on tape yelling something profane and hilarious during a Z-Bo and-1, which is #PeakTA.
James Ennis: B
Ennis hit a three to open the scoring for the game and wound up with 7 points. Unfortunately, Ennis’ night ended too soon. He did not play in the second half due to a calf injury, which we hope doesn’t result in him being reevaluated in two weeks.
Vince Carter: B-
Vince didn’t have the same sort of massive offensive night we’ve come to expect from him off the bench, but he still hit a couple of key shots in the fourth when the Grizzlies’ lead looked like it was about to vanish.
Zach Randolph: B
Randolph didn’t manage a double-double, but he did put up 14 points and 8 boards off the bench. At this point, it’s superfluous to continue to talk about what Z-Bo means to the Grizz bench, but it’s such a great luxury to have.
Andrew Harrison: D
Not a great night for Harrison, who finished the game with the same number of points as fouls (5) and was the worst Grizzly in terms of +/- with -8. I would’ve given Harrison an F but Harrison requested we reserve that for Frank Kaminsky. Also, Harrison got fouled by his twin. Fortunately, this did not cause any major issues with the space-time continuum.
Other Bench Players (Martin, Daniels, Williams, Davis): C
There really wasn’t much from this Grizz quartet. Jarell played the most minutes (8) and he was unremarkable. Troy Daniels went in at the end of the first half and stood in the corner while Conley hit a three. Williams took one shot and missed in his 4 minutes. And Deyonta Davis had a block in a rebound in his single minute, which I wish had actually been more than one minute.
David Fizdale: B-
Whatever Fizdale has done since that ugly loss to the Bucks, it seems to be working. Since that game and the ensuing 2 hour film session, the Grizzlies are 5-0, and the defense has steadily improved. But you can sum up Fizdale’s biggest issue on this night with this tweet from the Commercial Appeal’s Chris Herrington:
It's 17-point lead with 3 minutes to go. It's ok to sit down Gasol.— Chris Herrington (@HerringtonNBA) November 22, 2016
Maintenance is going to be an ongoing issue with Gasol and Conley all season long, and the extended minutes (34 for Gasol; 36 for Conley) in a game that was in hand is a little worrisome. After all, we know that he’ll have to give those minutes back somewhere. It’s possible that a game like this could result in a another DNP for Mike and Marc. So, while Fizdale did a good job controlling the flow of the game when the Grizzlies appeared to be losing momentum, I’d like to see him be more cautious with his two injury risks.