Just like the season opener in Miami, if the Grizzlies could stop play after the third quarter, they would be undefeated.
Fourth quarter struggles are to be expected for a young team with so many new pieces and a rookie head coach. Rotations are still being adjusted and Coach Jenkins is figuring out who can play at the end and who can’t.
While it was a loss, many players for the Grizzlies graded out well, so let’s look at the grades for this game:
Shooting Guards: 12 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds
While those may be acceptable numbers for one player in about 20 minutes of play, these are horrendous for an entire 48 minutes. The opposing two guards produced this stat line:
62 point 12 rebounds 6 assists.
Yes, Zach Lavine and Coby White are listed as point guards on ESPN, but Lavine started off ball, while White was off ball next to Kris Dunn. So not only did Dillon Brooks and Grayson Allen struggle offensively, they also were constantly torched on defense all night long. Dillon Brooks played 30 minutes and had no business being on the floor at the end of the game, forcing shots like he was Kobe. Oh yeah, he also fouled out.
GRADE: F- - -
Jae Crowder: 13 points 9 rebounds 3 assists
At best, Crowder is a fourth option on this team. You take that stat line every night out of the fourth option. He held Otto Porter in check most of the night, only surrendering 4 points to one of their top options.
The one negative about Crowder’s play tonight is that he went 3-10 from three. He missed several open looks on the night, leaving too many valuable points on the board.
The Rookies: 31 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists
Brandon Clarke also added 3 blocks on the night in his 25 minutes of play. Marko Guduric would receive an A for his first half of play, but he failed to get anything going in the second half. Clarke has been the most consistent Grizz through the first two games of the season and is already looking like a steal for Memphis.
Ja Morant was not able to get much going offensively on the night, settling for 10 points and 5 assists. He shot 33% while also turning the ball over 4 times. One of his turnovers in the fourth quarter was costly. Jaren Jackson Jr. had the hot hand, so Morant chose a skip pass to the corner to Jackson Jr. than passing to an open Grayson Allen. This pass went right into the hands of a Bulls player while the game was still within reach.
This team will ride the highs and lows of Ja Morant. Tonight wasn’t the mountaintop but it wasn't the valley.
Jaren Jackson Jr.: 23 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block
This is the Jaren Jackson Jr. that the Memphis Grizzlies need on a nightly basis. He had three fouls. One of them was a bad call, while the other two were offensive position and reaching to block a shot.
Jaren’s game was on full display in this game — driving past the slower defender, posting up and getting to his left hand hook shot and knocking down a three. His comfort level driving to the hole will be key in his development throughout his career.
He was efficient shooting, 53% from the field and 33% from three. He was the go-to option for this team all night, and perhaps needed more touches.
GRADE: A -