After getting absolutely smacked by Indiana on Wednesday, the Memphis Grizzlies bounced back to take care of business against the Atlanta Hawks in front of their home crowd. They gave the fans lots to cheer for in the home opener.
They hit a barrage of 3-pointers, drilling 13 triples. After a horrible rebounding performance against Indiana, the Grizzlies won the battle of the glass, 41-40. They also assisted on 32 of their 44 field goals, as the offense looked fluid and crisp. 4th overall pick Jaren Jackson Jr. delivered in his home debut, giving Grizz Nation a glimpse of his bright future. Mike Conley made his return to home court action, and he played like the Conductor we know and love. Garrett Temple’s arrival in Memphis just shows how comical it was that they got him for Ben McLemore and Deyonta Davis.
Overall, there wasn’t a lot to be disappointed about.
How did every Grizzly grade out in this one?
Mike Conley - B
Mike Conley wasn’t exactly extraordinary, but he really didn’t have to be to pull out the W against the lowly Hawks. With that being said, he didn’t show any red flags in any aspect of his game. He looks like he hasn’t lost much quickness following his heel procedure — something we were all worried about coming into the season. In addition, he had a fabulous job of orchestrating the offense, as he finished the game with 11 assists.
Garrett Temple - A+
Garrett Temple had himself a night, making me eat a ton of my words. He finished with a game-high 30 points on a sizzling 10-11 shooting — 5-6 from deep. He did an excellent job of running around screens and actively picking spots on the floor to let it fly. He also finished with a game-high +/- of +37. Temple won’t play like this every night, but if he can continue to supply great shooting, he won’t lose his starting spot.
Chandler Parsons - B-
What Chandler Parsons did in this game is what the Grizzlies really need from him this season. He did an excellent job of spacing the floor, connecting on 3 of his 4 three-pointers. He also did a good job playing within this new motion-heavy offense, as he kept moving the basketball and finding his open spots on the court. They must keep him in the starting lineup, as both Temple and Parsons give Conley and Gasol the floor spacing they’ve never had in their tenure in Memphis.
JaMychal Green - C-
JaMychal Green left the game early, as he lost a couple teeth. However, he didn’t look that good in this one. He finished with 6 points on 2-8 shooting, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 14 minutes of action. Not to mention, he fumbled a lot of passes around the paint, which led to him struggling to finish inside. Green found success playing within himself — serving as a cutter and a spot-up shooter.
Marc Gasol - B
Marc Gasol didn’t do anything too eventful or noteworthy, to be honest. He finished with 13 points on 4-7 shooting, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 27 minutes of action. Despite the lackluster numbers, Gasol has a “B,” because he actually looked engaged. In Wednesday’s game, he looked disinterested, like he didn’t even want to be on the floor. You shouldn’t expect nights like these from Gasol too often, as he’s simply too good for this type of production.
The Bench - B+
Let’s get the bad out of the way real quick.
I don’t know why Bickerstaff is persistent on giving Shelvin Mack a bunch of minutes. He’s not really good enough to warrant this much time. It’s even more confusing to see him play the garbage time minutes over Andrew Harrison — totally different discussion though. Mack was really just there. He didn’t do much to help the team, as the Hawks often closed the gap while he was in.
Wayne Selden Jr. looked like he doesn’t even belong in the NBA. He let the ball hit him in the face on multiple occasions.
The Dillon Brooks minutes saga continued in the first half, as he only played 2 minutes in the first 2 quarters. However, he played 17 minutes and finished with 4 points on 1-7 shooting from the field. He often looked like he was playing timid, worrying too much about getting pulled out of the game for a mistake. Aside from that and the poor shooting, he was aggressive looking for his shot, which is all you could really ask for.
Omri Casspi played good, hard minutes in this one, often finding himself around the paint for scoring and rebound opportunities. After not playing in Indiana, Casspi played 24 minutes and scored 10 points. I just wish there was something we can do about that goofy jumper.
Kyle Anderson was a steady contributor in the second unit, finishing with a +/- of +10. He finished with 3 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Some may be disappointed by his offensive performance, but he really isn’t called upon to score the basketball — that’s not his game. As long as he serves as a good primary playmaker and a superb defender in the second unit, that’s a huge lift for Memphis.
Finally, Jaren Jackson Jr. Wow. He gave Memphis a TREAT in his 901 debut. JJJ finished with 24 points and 7 rebounds, and he flashed many different weapons in his offensive arsenal. Early in the game, he utilized that nifty left-handed hook shot. He battled and bullied his way into the paint on numerous occasions, which resulted in a few AND-1 opportunities. He even knocked down 2 triples in the second half. After a poor rebounding effort against Indiana, Jackson did a great job of crashing the glass. In addition, he was extremely active in pick-and-roll defense, making life hell for the ball-handler.
Watching Jackson’s development throughout the season is going to be so fun, and last night was only the beginning.
Hopefully, the Memphis Grizzlies can continue their momentum, as they head to Utah to take on a very talented Jazz team on Monday night.