After last night’s game, pretty much nothing else matters other than the health of Marc Gasol.
That is the only relevant takeaway from this game going forward. The Grizzlies have no chance of consistently winning with Gasol sidelined for a long stretch of games. Yes, this was a bad loss against a team the Grizzlies should beat, but the injury in the fourth quarter is all that really matters.
The Grizzlies lost to the Sacramento Kings 97-92 on Wednesday night. Memphis carried over their performance against the Jazz and played a great first half of basketball. They played staunch defense and made the Kings settle for contested jumpers which weren’t falling. The Grizzlies were playing their style of basketball to win the game.
Then, the second half started when Memphis could not buy a bucket, and the game turned for the worst. The Grizzlies missed shots turned into 20 fast break points while not being able to set up in their consistent defense which they had showed all first half. Everyone went cold at the wrong time which let the Kings back in this one.
Looking at some of the team stats, the Grizzlies shot 38.3% from the field and 27.0% from three. That is contrasted by the Kings shooting 42.2% and 33.3% from three. Outside of those numbers, nothing else stood out in this one, aside from the Kings shooting 20 more free throws than the Grizzlies which leads to easy points. 25 personal fouls are a bit much for one game. Either way, defense was the name of the game for this one.
Now, to team grades.
Mike Conley- B
Conley played well. He was the dominant scorer that took over the game at times. Conley scored 27 points on 10-22 shooting and 4-11 from three. He added five assists and six rebounds to those totals. The reason for this production is that no one could hit anything in the second half, and he was there only go-to on the offensive side of the ball. The stat for him and the team was that he scored 20 in the second half. Everyone else combined for 20 points in the second half as well. That is just not going to work, especially if Gasol misses time.
Garrett Temple- C-
In his return to Sacramento, Garrett Temple could just not get anything going. He played 29 minutes and shot 1-7 and 1-5 from three. Temple has shown promise early on this season, but he cannot be the success meter for this team. Others have to step up to take the slack if Temple has an off-shooting night like tonight. He should not carry the load. Defensively, he may have looked worse than his off shooting night. The Kings found ways to have De’Aaron Fox on him, and Fox made him look silly. Fox is just too quick for Temple to compete.
Kyle Anderson- C+
Another no-show in this one was Kyle Anderson. His game is not dynamic enough to be a big scorer, but he has got to hit the shots he is taking if he is playing 29 minutes in games. He only went 2-5 shooting with five points and nine rebounds. A better night helping in the boards which is critical this season with the bigs being kicked out for more threes. The defense also looked better helping on many of the Fox drives in the first half. The rebounding and defense gives him the + for today’s grades.
Jaren Jackson Jr.- B-
It is so hard to grade Jaren Jackson just because of his youth. He makes so many plays to make you think “wow, he is going to be good.” Then, on the next play he makes a dumb mistake which you want to question what just happened there. It will work itself out, and he is going to be a great Grizzly for years to come. That is the bottom line. This one he got to face off against the second overall pick Marvin Bagley. Both had solid games with blows on each side. JJJ finished the game with 14 points and 7 rebounds that showed lots of promise with him battling for boards. Bagley had 13 and 6. Very similar with both players showing upside.
One big critique of Jackson thus far is committing fouls. With the Grizzlies thin at big, JJJ is going to have to learn to play and not foul so he does not have to come out of games early.
No grade is necessary because his health is first and foremost. The fall did not look good as he headed straight to the locker room. It seemed to be either a head, neck, or shoulder injury, but any of those is not a good sign moving forward. Without much depth on this roster, missing Gasol will hurt in a major way, if in fact he has to sit out games.
The Bench- B
Solid game by the bench as Bickerstaff played Omri Casspi, Shelvin Mack, Wayne Selden Jr., Dillon Brooks, and MarShon Brooks all double digits in minutes. It was nice to see some of those guys contribute defensively in the first half of play.
Wayne Selden gets the player of the game for the bench because he played 25 minutes and scored 13 points on 5-10, 3-6 from three. Also, he led the Grizzlies in +/- at +14. He can be a great man off the bench if he can continue to develop his shot while playing hard-nosed defense which we have seen from him before.
After this tough loss, the Grizzlies will head back home to Memphis and welcome the Phoenix Suns to town. This is another one the Grizzlies should win, but we will keep an eye out for the injury to Gasol. Devin Booker may not be making the trip for the Suns as he suffered a possible hamstring injury in their game Wednesday against the Lakers. Grizzlies and Suns game is on Saturday, October 27th at 7:00 CST.