In a game that was more like a roller coaster ride than a basketball contest, the Memphis Grizzlies found a way to survive against the Los Angeles Clippers and earn themselves a big December win at home 96-86.
Memphis really was a mixed bag this time out. At times, they looked the equal of the Clippers and then some as they played dominant defense and displayed offensive efficiency. At other points, the Grizzlies looked completely lost offensively and fouled far too often defensively.
Still, a win is a win. Here are some quick takeaways from the W-
Joakim Noah can still ball.
Of course it was only one game, on one night, and surely Noah was fired up to once again be in an NBA game with a chance to show what he can do. But there were times that...dare I say it...Joakim looked to be the best center on the Memphis Grizzlies. Marc had real issues, especially offensively, in this game (more on that in a moment) and seemed disconnected at times on both ends of the floor. Meanwhile, Noah moved quite well and even got some buckets as he targeted the boards just like he was brought in to do - in 13 minutes he only snagged three rebounds, but they were at key moments for a Memphis team that desperately needed energy.
Players like JaMychal Green (19 points, 11 rebounds) had better all-around outings, but it was good to see that Noah is indeed of meaningful contributions, at least for one night.
Marc Gasol had a really bad night, but so did key Clippers
Most nights where Marc shoots 1-13 from the floor the Grizzlies are not going to win, even with Mike Conley scoring an efficient 22 points on 16 shots. Gasol is just too important offensively for Memphis to survive that low of an offensive output. But thankfully, between great defense and overall apathy/self-inflicted wounds, the Clippers played one of their worst offensive games of the season. Danilo Gallinari, Avery Bradley, and Tobias Harris combined to shoot a miserable 9-36 from the floor, good for 25% overall. For a team so reliant on team scoring and working as a unit, this was disastrous for the Clippers hopes in this one.
If one of your best players is going to struggle, do it on a night where a bunch of other guys are going to as well.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. fouled out. 13 points, 6 fouls, 21 minutes played. These games will happen for the young bull of the squad. They won’t always, though, as he matures. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff needs to continue to let him work through these issues.
- Garrett Temple and Shelvin Mack are who we thought they were. Decent role players. Their other-worldly performances from earlier this season seem more like months ago than weeks, however. Another wing would be really nice to have...hurry back, Dillon Brooks.
- Kyle Anderson is an underrated unicorn. 7 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, and defensive success against Tobias Harris (2-13 overall from the floor). A unique talent for a unique team...loving what Anderson brings to the Grizzlies.
Memphis, who is now 14-9, will be back in action on the road Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.