If someone had told me that the Grizzlies would commit 18 turnovers and still beat a near-.500 team that only had 12 turnovers, along with starters Ja Morant & Jonas Valanciunas combining for only 19 points, I would've quoted the late Pimp C saying "Get off the Boo Boo!"
Wednesday night's game also came and went with Tyus Jones only contributing a 2-piece sampler for points, rebounds, and assists. Yet & still, “Drip N Slime” as I lovingly call them sealed the deal against Phoenix & though the Drip God finished with only 13 points, it was guys like Dillon Brooks stepping up big to the tune of 27 points & reserves like Brandon Clarke doing their part as he contributed 15 points in his return to game action.
Ja Morant- B
Morant was a -6 in a game that still saw his team win by 7 points despite allowing his matchup Ricky Rubio of all people to serve up 22 points & 8 assists. This was certainly not one of The Drip God's best games, but of course it didn't go completely by without him serving at least a small portion of late game heroics to lead his team to victory.
With only 11 points & less than a minute left in the game, the Grizzlies held a slim four point lead & Ja found himself with the ball outside on the wing versus Aron Baynes & Ja immediately called Iso after he saw such a disrespectful switch assignment. Ja then proceeded from the Talking Stick Resort Arena logo & faked right before going left, blowing past Baynes & posterizing him for the 2nd time within 5 minutes of gameplay to clinch the win in Phoenix.
His defense was off at times & his offense wasn't off the charts but wins count & he made some crucial plays down the stretch to do just that.
Dillon Brooks- A+
Dillon had an itchy trigger finger from tip off & looked to get going early once he nailed a couple of shots & got the feeling in his fingers. If he wasn't attacking & pulling up from mid range on off balance jumpers, he was nailing treys via catch n shoot assists from what seemed like everyone but definitely Tyus Jones & Ja. Dillon kept said pace throughout the game & didn't take his foot off the break offensively nor on defense where he helped limit Booker to only 15 points & got the dub.
Jae Crowder- A+
Crowder bounced back from a minuscule offensive game versus the warriors & chipped in 13 points while also dishing out five assists & grinded for 7 rebounds, not to mention his reliable defense all resulting in the highest +/- amongst the starters with a +11. The Young OG is often the leader in doing the small things that count.
Jaren Jackson Jr- A-
Not only did Jaren take 7 of his 18 shot attempts from downtown, he also made 3 of those seven looks with the burner. JJJ also looked to get others going out of the post & was active enough to attempt 18 shots that lead to his 24 points. Jaren was active & aware all night & made some pretty nice plays himself including attacking on ball, in iso from the perimeter to the rim, & nailing a crafty trick shot against the Suns big man tandem.
Jaren seems to be truly learning the small things that create consistent production & thus the next generation of stars. That's where Jaren is headed if he stays the course of late.
Jonas Valanciunas- C
Jonas still came to bang! However Frank Kaminsky came to use the burner & run the gun as he often looked like Anthony Davis versus the resident veteran bruiser of Beale Street. When Kaminsky wasn't dragging Jonas outside where he nailed a perfect 4/4 with his burner, Frank was attacking the rim from the wing against Jonas & taking advantage of what at times looked like stones for the feet of JV. Valanciunas not only struggled defensively with the versatility of Kaminsky but also struggled with the pace of the offense & further validated my claim that Memphis should've moved on from Jonas this past offseason. Nights like this will require the Grizzlies to give up something if/when they possibly move JV.
The bench combined for a higher +/- than the starters, much to the credit of D'Anthony Melton & Brandon Clarke. Melton has become a consistent sample platter in his time as he gave Memphis 9 points, 6 rebounds & 3 assists with a game high +22 +/- in only 18 minutes. Needless to say Melton was outstanding offensively & defensively in limited minutes. Brandon Clarke came out doing his best Grayson Allen impression versus The Warriors the other night as Clarke played 21 minutes & scored 15 points, 6 of which came on two made shots from downtown. Clarke also chipped in the grit of the Drip N Slime pulling down 7 rebounds & giving the bench a huge boost that even the starters didn't quite provide.
Kudos to a well rounded game from the young Drip N Slime of Bluff City that survived 10 ties & 11 lead changes.