After a tough loss to the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies came back home to take care of business and smacked the Phoenix Suns 117-96. They started out kind of slow, scoring only 10 points in the first 6 minutes. From that point on though, the Grizzlies throttled the Booker-less Suns and commanded control the entire ball game.
On the opposing side, the Suns were absolute trash without their rising shooting guard, as he hurt his hamstring this week. Deandre Ayton is an unbelievable freak of nature and proved why he was this year’s number one pick. He scored 24 points on a crazy 12-13 shooting, grabbed 8 rebounds and dropped 5 assists. Ayton is a crazy offensive talent, and he’s going to be a force for the next two decades. Other than that, Isaiah Canaan and Jamal Crawford played well; but on the other hand, someone had to score. Troy Daniels got garbage minutes, so at least he’s not torching the nets elsewhere! Josh Jackson and Dragan Bender, a garbage minutes superstar, played like trash too – HA, so much for tanking!
Let’s talk about the Grizzlies’ players though. How did they fare out in this one?
Mike Conley (B)
Conley played a pretty good game but didn’t do anything too flashy. He scored 18 points on 6-13 shooting, and that’s where I want to see him improve. He needs to be shooting higher than 50 percent from the field, if the Grizzlies want to compete against good times. He also had 7 assists and 2 steals, which is what they need from him in both areas.
Garrett Temple (B+)
I swear, Garrett Temple had the quietest 15 points I’ve ever seen. He did it without too many shot attempts, as he only had 6 field goal attempts. He also did a great job of getting to the basket, which led to him knocking down all 6 of his free throw attempts. If Temple keeps producing without commanding too many touches, that’ll go a long way for the Grizzlies this season.
Kyle Anderson (D-)
Kyle Anderson missed 3 shots around the paint, and the ball hit him in the face on a pass. At least he’s grabbed 5 rebounds though!
Jaren Jackson Jr. (D)
It was Jaren Jackson’s first bad game. He didn’t get going on offense – some of that could be because he doesn’t get enough touches or enough sets for him, but that’s a different conversation. He played great defense on Ryan Anderson, but that really isn’t saying much though. Ayton low-key bullied him down low, and he got into foul trouble. On another note, he surpassed Mike Conley on the all-time list for technical fouls.
Marc Gasol (B+)
Marc Gasol must have read Nathan Chester’s article from Friday, because he looked like a different player last night than he did on Wednesday. He shot 50 percent (8-16) from the field, which is a bigger deal than you think, to be honest. He also spaced the floor well, knocking down 3 triples. He also continued rebounding the ball well, as he hauled in 8 rebounds. Even though he had 3 steals, he still had trouble containing Ayton, but that’s going to be a problem for a lot of teams in the league.
The Bench (A)
Wayne Selden looked like a NBA rotation player, which is always a welcoming sight. He scored in a variety of ways: off the dribble, in the mid-range, from deep, and at the rim. I’m really looking forward to see how he responds over the next few games, because he’s had consistency issues in the past. If he builds on this performance though, he could be the perimeter scoring punch the Grizzlies definitely need off their bench.
Shelvin Mack continued to make me eat my words like he eats his cheeseburgers. He did a good job of facilitating the offense (6 assists) and getting his own buckets as well (8 points on 4-4 shooting). It looks like the Grizzlies found their backup point guard – until they go out and try to solve their backup point guard problem next summer too.
Omri Casspi is my new Hamed Haddadi. Everything he does on the court is goofy as anything, but he puts a smile on my face. He drilled a 3 with a shooting form that resembles a 9-year old in church league basketball. He also converted an and-one with one of the most hideous Euro-step’s I’ve ever seen. He also finished with the team’s highest +/- (+27). This guy is going to be a blast to watch this season.
MarShon Brooks had one of those games he’ll have probably once in every 25-30 games. He got hot from the floor, scoring 18 points on 7-9 shooting. It was fun, but don’t expect it that much.
Dillon Brooks had a good all-around game. He didn’t really get going scoring, but he did a great job of attacking the rim – probably a better job than anyone on the team not named Mike Conley. He also played great defense and crashed the glass (6 rebounds). He needs to start over Kyle Anderson, period.
Ivan Rabb grabbed 6 rebounds and dropped 3 assists in 11 minutes – but people are still going to say we need another big man. Andrew Harrison and Yuta Watanabe made their season debuts in garbage minutes, and both players scored 2 points apiece.
It was a great dub for the Memphis Grizzlies, and we’ll see if they can ride this momentum when they take on the Wizards at home on Tuesday.