Defense is overrated anyway.
The Grizzlies and Warriors had a fun one on Saturday night with both offenses exploding combing for 269 points. The Warriors took down the Grizzlies 141-128 in a fast-paced shootout. This, unfortunately, is not the team you want to go up against when up-tempo basketball comes to mind.
However, if you are one to believe in a moral victory, this game was it. Outside of Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans, it was the Kobi Simmons show. He played 31 minutes and scored 17 points on 7-10 shooting (3-4 from 3). This was the progression and solid play that will make this losing season seem a bit better. He needs to be getting big minutes to get him into a rhythm playing NBA minutes, especially if it is taking minutes from Mario Chalmers.
Regrettably for the Grizzlies, Steph Curry came back for this game after being out for some time prior. He put on a show for his Oracle crowd scoring 38 points in 26 minutes of play. Steph showed no signs of his lingering ankle injury draining a season-high 10 3’s. Both teams shot the ball above 50% from the field. The stat of the night for the Grizzlies is the team shot 71.4% from three-point land, which is remarkable. The team actually shot better from 3 than they did from the free throw line. The Grizzlies played a heck of a game overall but just chose the worst opponent to do it against.
Now, to team grades.
Andrew Harrison- C-
Harrison started again tonight but did not stay on the court long as he only put in 15 minutes on Saturday night. He finished the game with 5 points on 1-5 shooting. The success of Kobi Simmons resulted in Andrew Harrison losing minutes. When he was out there, the defense he is “known for” was lacking. Steph is, of course, a tall task, but the outcome was about how you expect. From the point guard position, it was all about Kobi Simmons tonight.
Tyreke Evans- B
Only 22 from Evans tonight, so you may be asking why he had an off night. Only kidding, but he did take fewer shots than he normally does. He played 31 minutes and went 9-16 from the field. The answer to is smaller shot total is all about Klay Thompson and his solid defense. Thompson has studied and knows the trick to guarding Tyreke. If you make him go left, he struggles. If you watch how he guards him, you will see Klay not letting him get a full head of steam driving from his right side. It seems to affect Evans and will be interesting to see if others pick up on this down the road. Also, we cannot miss the 9-assist night. As I have said before, his passing is on another level that he has not had in his career.
Dillon Brooks- C
Dillon Brooks had another quiet night in an overall scoring fest. He only had 5 points on a 1-6 shooting night. Brooks went against Kevin Durant both ways, so he gets a little excuse for a bad night. KD ended with his 20 and Brooks actually showed some glimpses of solid defense Saturday night.
JaMychal Green- C+
JaM had a strange night tonight in a game where he had the chance to excel. The Warriors frontcourt is always something to take advantage of, and he did a solid job of that. He scored 12 points and had 8 rebounds in 20 minutes. However, those points came on 16 shots for JaMychal. That is something we have not seen from him. But I do like this mentality in the long run.
Overall, it was a good game while nursing his injury. After a new contract this off-season, avoiding further injury is priority number one with Green.
Marc Gasol- B
27 points and 6 rebounds for Marc Saturday. Because both teams shot so well, the rebounds were minimal compared to a usual NBA game. Gasol always brings his offense A-game against the Warriors, and he did just that for this one. He went 4-4 from 3-point range and had his shooting stroke all night. It was a historic night for Gasol too, as he passed Mike Conley for the franchise leader in points. Through all the recent controversies, it is a well-deserved honor for a player who is a staple of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Only one negative that should be brought up as many times as possible until the question is answered. Why was the 2 year, 10 million dollar man a DNP-CD once again? As GBB’s Mark King brought up in his 3 and D podcast, Ben McLemore has been getting these DNPs way too much for someone who just got a solid contract this past offseason. I do not understand why this is the case. Plus, Chalmers played 15 minutes. Rotations have to be better explained.
But, the real highlight of this game is Kobi Simmons. As mentioned in the intro, Simmons balled out. He was given another opportunity and showed big promise in this one. He shot the ball considerably better than he has before. These games, even in losses, are exactly what he needs for his confidence and development into the league. And defensively, he is leaps and bounds better than expected. He gets in to every play fighting hard to make a statement.
The takeaway from this game is that even in a loss, the team fought hard and actually played well. This is a perfect game for anyone on board with the tanking philosophy. However, if you haven’t gotten there yet, think of it this way. A night like this would beat almost any team in the NBA, but one of the teams that could match it is the Warriors. Tough loss against a good team. Next up is the Sacramento Kings and the revenge game for Zach Randolph.