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Full Recap: Brooks, Clarke lead Memphis past Washington

That was very fun

Washington Wizards v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

I said prior to last night’s game that it was going to be a fun one. Both teams play at a fast pace, and there is very little defense. It lived up to the expectations for the Grizzlies, but not necessarily for Washington. Bradley Beal scored an inefficient 29 points -- please, someone free this man. And, there’s little excitement watching Ish Smith and Admiral Schofield being the offensive supply for a NBA team.

For the Memphis Grizzlies, it was a fun night that, once again, showed how bright the future could be. No, I’m not talking about Jaren Jackson Jr. or Ja Morant. I’m talking about with Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks.

Jackson and Morant had solid games, but -- aside from a Ja dunk -- there was a lot of normalcy. They also didn’t have to go bonkers for the Grizzlies to pull this one out.

Dillon Brooks was huge once again, capping off a stellar scoring week (averaging 22.5 ppg in 4 games) with 27 points on an efficient 17 shots. Brooks continued to create his own shot without necessarily forcing anything, while making extremely difficult shots. In addition, defensively, he generated 3 steals and forced Beal into an off shooting night.

His combination of offensive and defensive output is exactly what you need from him. Quite frankly, whether he’s the answer or not, he’s playing at a level you want the starting 2-guard to be. He’s alleviating pressure off Ja and Jaren as a wing scorer that can create his own offense when needed, and he’s also a strong, physical perimeter defender. Regardless, Brooks is proving to be worthy of being a part of the Grizzlies future -- whether it’s as a starter or not.

Brandon Clarke, wow.

That’s really all you can put it at. Even Brandon Clarke activists probably didn’t see him being this good or efficient this quick. I’ve said it all season, and I’ll continue saying it: I know there’s this urge to want Clarke in the starting 5 immediately, but I love him in this small-ball 5 role where he gets to feast on second units.

His skillset is tailor-made for this system. With a plethora of playmakers, and an abundance of motion, Clarke’s vertical spacing is huge, as he found himself on the receiving end of alley oops on numerous occasions. He also can run the floor in transition super well -- as evident when he baptized Ian Mahinmi. Clarke’s also providing consistency when rounding out his game, showing the willingness to shoot the 3 ball, or to push the ball in transition to start the break on numerous occasions throughout a game.

Clarke had his best scoring night of the season, finishing with 25 points on 11-14 shooting from the field. This performance was just another indicator that he belongs in that cornerstone discussion with Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant.

Games like these are cool, because it shows how, even as a young team, the Grizzlies don’t need to rely on solely Ja and Jaren to pull out a W. And it’s even cooler when some of the team’s other young talent, such as Brandon Clarke or Dillon Brooks, can shoulder the scoring load for the night to ensure a victory.

The next several months, and even few years, is all about finding out who you want to surround Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant with for the next great Grizzlies team. Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks keep making strong impressions that they belong there too.

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