And so the slide continues.
With Mike Conley sitting out and Memphis facing a tough upcoming slate of road games, starting off with a win against the defending champs would have been the perfect start as well as the perfect rebound from a couple of tough losses.
Unfortunately, it was nothing more than a pipe dream. Golden State quickly took control of the game and never looked back. Memphis must control the tempo of the game in order to win. When they can do that, they can beat anyone.
Despite the result, there were some interesting performances at Oracle. So who earned their grades?
Let’s get to it.
Omri Casspi: A
All hail the Shammgod! Omri Casspi is the best player on the Grizzlies!! Ok, that might be a slight overreaction, but Casspi has been a steal this season. When given the opportunity, Casspi has been able to make solid contributions and tonight was a perfect example of that. 20 points on 80% shooting with 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
There's two bench players on this team that are insta-buckets: MarShon Brooks and ............... Omri Casspi. Don't @ me— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) December 18, 2018
Casspi was owning the lane tonight, consistently cutting and weaving his way to the basket. Sure, most of his damage was done with the game out of reach, but Casspi provided a spark off the bench that Memphis sorely needed to restore some semblance of offensive production.
Jevon Carter: C+
As mentioned earlier, Conley’s absence means that Mack and Carter were given point duties. After a solid debut with 11 points against the Heat, I was hoping to see more of the same. Mack may have had better numbers than the rookie, but I gave Carter the edge because of what he got drafted for: his defense. To say that Mack played horrible defense would be to admit that he played any form of defense. Carter harassed Curry all night, was consistently active and overall played good defense. Here’s hoping we see Carter continuing to improve on both ends of the floor as he gets more playing time.
Joakim Noah: C+
While Noah’s numbers didn’t blow anyone away, his energy and effort continue to provide value to the Grizzlies. It wasn’t long ago that Noah and Marc Gasol were known as some of the best passing bigs in the game, and it’s clear that he can still ball out when given the opportunity.
Noah’s skill set can be very beneficial to Memphis. Having another big with solid defense and passing ability that can spell Gasol is more value than anyone expected when he was signed to fill that 15th roster spot. Noah didn’t fill up the box score against the champs, but his skill set and energy were on full display in Oakland.
A third straight loss was tough, but there were positives to take away from the beatdown by the Dubs. Memphis travels to Portland on Wednesday looking to right the ship against the Blazers.