“Who’s laughing about my six-part series on Dillon Brooks now?!” GBB Associate Editor Parker Flemings texts me last night.
He had every reason to rejoice in his triumph as Dillon Brooks’ 30 points paced the Memphis Grizzlies to an impressive 124-119 win in Oklahoma.
However, the game initially looked like a continuation of the Hornets game from Monday. The Grizzlies fell behind early mainly because Jaren Jackson Jr. was taking shots like a first option but was making them like a twelfth option. He went 1-7 from the field in the 1st quarter and was 0-5 from beyond the arc, even though Steven Adams could be barely bothered to guard him out there.
After re-finding their footing after a Taylor Jenkins timeout with under three minutes to go in the first quarter, the game became a seesaw affair until the Thunder and Danilo Gallinari caught fire from beyond the arc to open up a 15-point advantage. The Grizzlies would rally to cut the lead to 7 at 59-52 at halftime.
And the second half was probably the best basketball of Dillon Brooks’ professional career. He would score 11 points in the half’s first three minutes and would score 23 of the Grizzlies’ 46 (!!!) points in the frame. Whether it was pull-ups or drives to the rim, he was locked in an incredible zone that never left the game’s outcome in doubt.
It also helped that the Grizzlies regressed (progressed?) to the mean in their shooting as a team, sinking 10 of 29 from beyond the arc and shooting 47% from the field. Three-point defense, however, remained a concern as the Thunder shot 15-37 from three.
Here are a few more takeaways from the game.
Jaren cannot stop fouling
Jackson would bounce back from an awful start to finish with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists. However, he would once again foul out—this time in 25 minutes rather than the 20 minutes it took against the Hornets.
It goes without saying that this is an issue that could become significant for Jackson and his development. I’ll have a feature about this on Friday.
A leg up in the SG race
I thought before preseason started that Dillon Brooks would absolutely be the opening night starter if for no other reason than just his veteran experience. But a 30-point game certainly does wonders in making that a certainty.
There are flaws in his game to be sure. He’s rather one-dimensional in the sense that he’s just mainly a scorer (he somehow managed to not grab a single rebound or get an assist), and he also can be a ball-stopper.
However, he is still the best option for the Grizzlies at the two right now.
Marko is SMOOTH
I was really not expecting Manu Ginobli to be reincarnated in the form of a Serbian swingman for the Memphis Grizzlies, but that seems to be the case. I mean, look at this.
He will definitely be a rotation player this year for the Grizzlies.