With all the national news surrounding Tyreke Evans Wednesday, lots of eyes were on the Grizzlies. Perhaps it may not have been about the product of basketball on the court, but nonetheless, Memphis had a game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis. After a crazy last four minutes, the Grizzlies fell to the Pacers 105-101. This game was a great showing for the young players to log some crucial minutes.
With the “injury” report being almost half the roster each night, we never know who is going to be playing or who will show out game to game The rotations are short and only about 8 or 9 guys are available to play. That was the case again tonight. Only nine players were healthy for this game and all saw minutes.
Both teams shot well throughout the game. The Pacers shot 52.9% from the field and 38.5% from three while the Grizzlies shot 47.6% and 46.2% from three. The Grizzlies won the rebounding battle, but the biggest discrepancy that led to the win for the Pacers was the fast break points (24-10). This normally is not a huge factor, but time after time the Grizzlies did not get back on defense giving up easy buckets. In the final minutes of the game, Selden buries a three to put the Grizzlies up one.
After a very suspect call from the officials, Myles Turner’s free throws put the Pacers back on top concluding with a closing drive by Selden that came up short as the Grizzlies fell. (For those keeping track of draft picks, good news is the Magic and Suns won too)
Now, to team grades.
Andrew Harrison- B-
Andrew Harrison came ready to play in this one. I do not know what he had against the Pacers, but he had one of his better all-around games. He finished the game with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists in 25 minutes. Of course, he had his bad moments, but I feel like they are highlighted so much more than most by the people watching him (me included). However, on nights like tonight, we just need to sit back and appreciate his dribble drive off screens with a little hesitation move before finishing around the basket. It was a thing of beauty. He had Pacer defenders all out of sorts trying to guard him.
This is the Andrew Harrison I have been waiting on. Who knows if he can put aside the bad and focus on his aggressive offense, but if he can, he may turn into something.
Wayne Selden- B+
Wednesday was the Wayne Selden Jr. show. Selden looked great against the Pacers leading the team in scoring with 24 points and also added 4 rebounds. He had a 57% field goal percentage and 60% from three. The guy was just feeling it. His hot hand down the stretch was the main reason the Grizzlies got back into this one. Unfortunately, it may have gone to his head a little as he probably should have passed the ball on that last drive, but it was harder to say in the moment.
Either way, Selden sure showed out for the Grizzlies. It makes you wonder what the team would have been like with him healthy all year. If he can continue the mindset he brought into this game, then he could turn into a great two-guard for the Grizzlies in the future.
Dillon Brooks- C
A poor shooting night for Dillon Brooks for this game. Brooks started out hot but cooled off after awhile. He shot 6-19 (0-4) from three without taking a free throw all night. He still ended with 12 points and 5 boards which isn’t terrible, but after with leading the team with 40 minutes, you would expect more strictly from a volume standpoint.
Defensively, Brooks looked solid always being matched up against a tough opponent. He wound up with 4 steals which was a good focus on an otherwise disappointing night.
Jarell Martin- C+
Quiet night for Jarell offensively with only 7 points and 4 rebounds. However, his intensity is still being brought over the last 10ish games that has changed everyone’s outlook on him. All four of his rebounds were offensive. Martin is finally tapping into his athleticism and making a difference down low. Plus on the other side of the ball, he was matched up against Myles Turner and actually held his own. Shooting and defense are his two biggest question marks, but making plays and extending possessions are attributes that will get him to that next level as a player.
Marc Gasol- A-
What more can you ask from Big Spain? The only other consistent scorer on this team was held out of the game and sent back to Memphis, so the burden falls on Marc yet again. He continues to go out there and put up solid numbers while his teammates around him are in constant flux. In this one, he scored 23 points and had 9 rebounds plus 6 assists. Marc even took up some point guard duties. A great night, but yet another loss. Even if you are 100% in on losing games to better the draft pick (which you should be), you have to feel for Gasol having to work around all of it. Also, a sneaky five 3’s taken from him as he keeps increasing his 3’s per game. When Marc stretches the floor, the offense is better.
Some good minutes but nothing impressive from the bench unit Wednesday night. The four combined for 22 points. Myke Henry got some minutes in this game and hit two 3’s.
The biggest focus for the bench each game should center around Ivan Rabb and his development. For this game, he had a few sloppy moments, but overall it seems like he has the basketball IQ to make a difference in the future. It is a long-term project for him so developmental minutes are something to watch in this under-whelming season.
Next, the Grizzlies go quickly to Detroit and face the new look Pistons. Blake Griffin vs. the Grizzlies will be a fun wrinkle that we did not expect a week ago. On the second night of a road back to back, I could see the PR team needing more than 240 characters to send out the injury report tweet.