The Memphis Grizzlies were going into the Mile High city about to play their 3rd game in four nights. In most situations, your eyes are rolling, and you’re probably expecting an L. However, Denver’s injury report came out, and you beamed with optimism. The Nuggets were without Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Paul Millsap — easily 3 of their 5 best players. This doesn’t even include Isaiah Thomas and Michael Porter Jr.
Hammer. Nail. Coffin. Am I right? Mark up a win for the Grizzlies.
Wrong. Of course, they pull off a loss like this, because it’s for the brand, baby. Losing games you should win, and winning games you should lose, since 2001.
All Heart. Grit and Grind — unless the team is obviously inferior.
Let’s just get to the report card before the negativity energy completely takes over.
The Bench: A
I’m going to give the bench an “A” here, because without their production, the Grizzlies would’ve gotten rocked in this one. They supplied bundles of energy to an agonizing game, and kept the Grizzlies in the game.
Shelvin Mack led the way for the bench mob with 14 points and 2 deep triples. Take that, Nathan Chester! HA!
Omri Casspi was all over the place, finishing with 12 points and 6 rebounds. He simply times his cuts to the basket perfectly and finishing with efficiency. He also took a defender baseline to finish with a jam, and I honestly didn’t know how to react. In addition, he hit a 3 with his signature goofy shot that resembles a 10-year old shooting on a 10-foot goal for the first time.
MarShon Brooks scored 8 points in 7 minutes, and JB didn’t put him in for the entire second half — because JB’s rotations are confusing. I was actually looking forward to seeing if his “bucket-getting” everyone raves about could actually get the Grizzlies a dubya. Nope.
Joakim Noah came in and did what he was supposed to do: play good defense and rebound. He finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 19 minutes.
JaMychal Green had another outstanding game off the bench, as he finished with a double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds). His shooting wasn’t superb, but he still injected energy into a lifeless game, so that’s cool.
The Starters: F
I’ll cut Mike Conley some slack. Though his shooting was quite putrid, I’m grading him on a curve, because we all thought his heel flared up, but it was a false alarm. Thank God, you’re okay, Mike. My heart couldn't handle another 20-win season.
So a C for you, Captain.
Everyone else was just ... ugh.
Jaren Jackson opened the game by doing a damn thing:
FIRST BUCKET OF THE GAME. JJJ! pic.twitter.com/F3BP0cT1x2— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) December 11, 2018
Start at the 3-point line, one dribble, KABOOM! On ya head, Juancho.
That’s seriously some Giannis type stuff right there.
That’s also the only thing he did though. He struggled on both ends of the court and didn’t finish the game on the floor, which is quite baffling given that he only had one foul. Hey, at least he wasn’t in foul trouble!
Apparently, Temple played great defense on Murray all night — even though Denver’s archer was 6-10 from the field. Offensively, he’s regressing towards his career averages and leaving a minimal impact on that end of the court.
Kyle Anderson didn’t do much of anything, but the coaching staff should’ve utilized him better. He had Juancho Hermangomez on him. Unleash Point Kyle when that’s the case.
Finally... Marc Gasol... oh man. In the first half, I wanted to throw the remote at the television. His first half performance led me to creating a calendar event in my phone to June 30, 2019 — the deadline date for his “opt-out” clause. There’s absolutely zero way a player of Gasol’s caliber should have zero points and zero rebounds in 12 minutes. In the second half, he was a tad better, but the effort wasn’t there tonight. I don’t know if he’s hurt or anything, but it was absolutely brutal to watch. He finished with 7 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 shot attempts.
You’re not winning ball games, if your starters play like this. Period.
Tune in tomorrow night as the Grizzlies look to bounce back against the Portland Trailblazers. Come for Dame vs. Conley, stay for the Wade Baldwin Revenge Game.