The Grizzlies fell to the Houston Rockets on the road 123-108 Saturday night. Basically the second half was all Houston, leaving the Grizzlies hanging their heads on the flight home to Memphis. Here are my grades for the game:
JaMychal Green, A+
20 points, 10 rebounds, 9-11 FG
Green played his best game in a month. From the start of the game he owned the paint, he played his role exactly how the Grizzlies need him to play every week. He has taken a ton of pressure off of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph this season, but hasn’t played nearly to his potential in the month of February. The Grizzlies need him to play more offensive-minded if they want to make a strong run in this last stretch of games. As long as Green can play like he did last night consistently, in combination with Brandon Wright’s return, the Grizz have a strong lineup of bigs that will be hard for any team to stop.
Big Three, B
Mike Conley: 23 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 8-17FG
Marc Gasol: 17 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 7-16 FG
Zach Randolph: 8 points, 1 assist, 6 rebounds, 3-9 FG
The big three have been a staple for the Grizzlies all season. Fact: this team would not be where they are this season without the outstanding play of the big three. But they have to do more than they did tonight. Conley and Gasol did what they could, they played consistent with their season averages (Gasol a little less), but Randolph did not contribute much off the bench. Zach had a great game against the Mavericks Friday, but for the Grizz to win, he has to anchor the second team with rebounding and consistent post play. Conley has been logging a ton of minutes recently, he played team high 39 minutes in Saturday’s game. Finding a ball handler that can contribute proportionately for the Grizz is essential at this point in the season.
Grizzlies Bench, B-
Toney Douglas (29 minutes), Vince Carter (24 minutes), Troy Daniels (11 minutes)
Combined: 27 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 10-28
This bench obviously excludes Zach Randolph, which would inflate the statistics a little bit. Toney Douglas played a good chunk of minutes, but he isn’t being the type of productive that the Grizzlies need. He did add 5 offensive rebounds and 3 steals, but the Grizzlies simply need more offensive production from him. He is settling for long jump shots, rushing fast break opportunities, and perhaps trying to do too much.
Vince Carter was 2-4 from deep, we can’t ask for much more from him. He struggled keeping up with the younger, faster forwards of the Rockets on defense. Troy Daniels has dropped in minutes since the addition of Douglas, but tends to make the most of the minutes he gets. He scored 7 points in just 11 minutes, the Grizzlies could benefit from having him in the game earlier in the first half.
Chandler Parsons, C-
The only reason I don’t give Chandler a lower grade is because I feel bad for him. I am an advocate for him, I want him to play well so badly. But it simply isn’t looking good. He can’t seem to do anything right.
He gets a wide open wing three, brick. He drives to the lane on a promising euro step, offensive foul. He leaps high for a weak side block, goal tending. He gets fouled on a jump shot, misses both free throws.
I am not questioning his work ethic or his desire to get better. I think more than anyone in Memphis, Chandler Parsons wants to play better for this team. He just can’t find the rhythm in each game. I am still hopeful, but he definitely deserves a lower than average grade for this game.
Grizzlies Defense, C
Can you grade something that didn’t exist? Okay, that was harsh, but the Grizz did give up 123 points. It will always be tough to beat a team when you give up 123 points, no matter how great your offense is. The Rockets had five players in double figures, every player that played logged at least 16 minutes. Each player also had a positive plus/minus rating.
To sum up what kind of night the Rockets were having, Ryan Anderson (number 8 in the leader for 3-pointers made and shooting 40% on the season) was 1-7 from deep and 1-10 overall; the Rockets still shot 50% for the game.
The Grizzlies won the rebound and steals battle, the difference was hustle towards shooters and transition defense. The Rockets shoot threes, that isn’t a secret, but they also make open threes. You have to contest in order to stop them, and the Grizzlies lacked that for much of the game.
Post All-Star Break Play, B-
The Grizzlies are 2-3 since the all-star break. They have been completely outplayed in the three loses, and two of them come against below-average teams. The Rockets are a solid team, but a team that the Grizzlies are capable of beating. There are still some roster rotations that the Grizz haven’t adjusted to just yet, especially with the addition of Toney Douglas. The Big Three (Conley, Gasol, and Randolph) have played well, but the rest of the team has to catch up.
The Grizz head back to Memphis for a four game home stand, three of four will be against teams from the Eastern Conference. (The lone Western Conference game will be against the Los Angeles Clippers.) Look for the Grizzlies to get back on track against teams they will see for the last time this season.