Another game. Another double digit lead squandered. This one just stings, a lot. You drop one at home to a 6-14 team, but even worse you lose it to the coach you fired last season who is coaching an inferior team. Your former coach came into your house and had the last laugh.
The Grizzlies had a solid first half, but its that third quarter plague. The Knicks outscored Memphis 35-19 in the third, building a lead that became insurmountable in the end. As mentioned in the game preview, the Grizzlies could not afford to let this young team hang around, and when the Grizz had a 13 point lead, they let it diminish almost in an instant. This team still struggles to stretch double digit leads and put teams away early.
Let’s just jump to the grades, this is so disheartening...
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Forget good, this kid was GREAT, phenomenal even, tonight. 30 minutes on the floor and he shoots 100% from the field on his way to 16 points. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT FROM THE FIELD. The search for a third feature piece on offense should be over because JJJ needs to be featured immediately. Within that perfect line from the field, Jaren hit four 3’s. His 3 point shooting has been on a steady uptick the last few weeks.
Even with his incredible night offense, Jaren wasn’t done proving he might be the best player in the 2018 Draft Class. Jackson added 6 rebounds and 7, yes 7, blocks to his 16 points last night. He is literally only scratching the surface of his potential and he is putting up numbers like this. His night was the lone bright spot from the loss.
Marc fell two rebounds short of his sixth straight double double, but his stat line was impressive regardless. He finished the night with 27 points, 4 assists, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Gasol always seems to play well against Kanter. The one area he doesn't do well against him? Rebounding. Gasol was destroyed on the glass tonight (26-8). Gasol also started the game off with four missed free throws which proved huge at the end of the night.
Despite his free throw woes and huge L on the glass, Marc still was the offensive horse and defensive anchor this team needs him to be.
Mike was more acceptable than good, but no one else even came close to acceptable tonight. Conley had his early season shooting form tonight, shooting 33% from the field and 2-10 from 3. If you are only featuring two scorers every night, your primary one can’t not show up. Although Mike finished with 23 points and 11 assists, it took him 24 shots to get there. It could simply be tired legs as he didn't play for about a year, but eventually that excuse will no longer be valid.
This may be a product of Mike having no choice but to take shots on off night because of the lack of offensive firepower around him, but in the end, his job is to put the ball in the basket and lead this team. Tonight he led, but he struggled to score.
Yea, this is everyone else.
Fear has become reality on Beale Street. Shelvin Mack and Garrett Temple are coming down to earth, and the Grizz simply can’t afford that. They combined for 9 points and Temple fouled out. They both get an F tonight.
Kyle Anderson might have been the best of the rest, but he was a team worst -9 on the tonight. He did his typical stat sheet filling across the paper and it may still be on Bickerstaff not having figured out that he needs to have the ball to create for others, but he has to give this team more. GRADE: C-
The bench scored 23 points tonight. MarShon is starting to make me less of a believer and JaMychal Green just did not have it tonight. Wayne Selden is wildly inconsistent and Casspi probably needs more minutes. But this unit misses Dillon Brooks. As a whole the bench grades with an F.
I am not in the huddles so I do not know how the conversations go, but ending the game with Mike Conley jacking up shots on an off night to try and come back is just poor basketball. If its JB being passive as a coach or the team just trusting Mike, its just poor basketball. You still have to run your offense and do what makes you successful. (HINT: you have a stud rookie who went 100% from the field and can score from anywhere).
Changes better be coming on Beale Street or the Grizz will have the quickest drop from first to out of the top 8 ever.