Yikes, this game did not go so well for the Grizzlies Wednesday night. It was what was expected with the lineup that played most of the game. Memphis traveled down to the Big Easy and lost to the New Orleans Pelicans 123-95.
It did not come as a surprise to most, as the Pelicans were playing for a playoff spot clinging on to that 8-seed in the West. The Grizzlies just do not have the firepower to keep up with a team like the Pelicans when they are giving it their all. Also, with three games left in the season, the Grizzlies may not have been mentally there. It has been a long season for the boys.
The story of the game was the bench playing a majority of the minutes throughout the game. No unit played a good deal more than another. With MarShon Brooks still on the roster, he took advantage of his time leading the team in minutes, points, and field goal attempts. He is playing for a contract, so I can’t blame him at all. Keep throwing up those shots.
Now, to team grades.
Kobi Simmons- C-
Not much to say about Kobi Simmons after this one. He just is not ready for the speed and intensity of the NBA. He played 28 minutes and only scored 4 points and had 1 assist and 3 turnovers. Simmons shows effort at times, but you can tell the game is going on around him at speeds he can not handle. As I have written before, single game +/- statistics do not say much unless they are extreme. Kobi Simmons +/- was -30. That is bad.
Ben McLemore- C+
Go out and get buckets young fella. Just kidding. Yes, McLemore had a whopping 14 points for this game, but it came off of 4-14 shooting. He is the lead driver of the tank pushing through this season schedule. I was surprised to see him get the start in this game because Bickerstaff has been reluctant to start him. McLemore did not really seize the opportunity so much as him just throwing up shots. To each his own.
Dillon Brooks- C
Bickerstaff finally listened to my write-ups! Brooks started at the three tonight, which pushed Jarell Martin into the four. Brooks did not really play enough to make a difference. He played 16 minutes and scored 8 points on 4-7 shooting. As the season winds down, Bickerstaff is staggering big minutes to the guys who have played most of the season. It will be a smart, long-term move for the franchise.
Jarell Martin- B-
With JaM getting the DNP, Martin started at the four. Although he still struggled defensively, Martin actually had a productive night on offense scoring 15 points on 6-9 shooting, 2-2 from three. He stretched the floor while having two nice drives to the rim making you see the small bit of upside there. The major downside is that he is still lost on defense. The Pelicans abused him on high screen and rolls a few times in this game. It is a work in progress, but it is now seen that he should stay at the four.
However, it may be the end of the season for Jarell. Near the end of the game, he suffered a leg injury and was seen leaving the locker room on crutches. Tough season for him.
Marc Gasol- D
Not really sure what more you can say about this season then Marc Gasol scoring 0 points in this game. Gasol played 20 minutes and did not score once. It really just shows a lot of what this season has come to for him. This game proves that it is time for the offseason for everyone involved with this team. Regroup, get healthy, and plan for next year.
As mentioned, the bench played big minutes to get some experience across the board. They only combined for 44 points, but it was leading scorer MarShon Brooks who put on another show. He scored 25 points on 9-17 shooting in 36 minutes. Brooks also included 7 assists to that total.
Now, compare that stat line to Marcus Teague. He played 21 minutes, scored 3 points and shot 1-6 from the field. Teague just signed a deal through the end of the season, and Brooks was benched the other night with a pop-up injury. You can not tell me that this organization is not tanking.
In addition to this, Ivan Rabb had a big game. He was aggressive on offense, going 6-13 scoring 16 points. He combined that with 7 rebounds and showed real promise going forward. Rabb is someone that Memphis fans should be excited for in the future. He has a unique game, but it works. More minutes and development will only Rabb hit that next level in the league.
Next, the Grizzlies come back home. They will face the Sacramento Kings Friday night. It will be an interesting game attendance-wise. If the Grizzlies lose the next three they could possibly fall down to the worst record in the league with some help with the Suns. However, it is getting to be crunch time, so I think all parties will do what they are supposed to down the stretch.