Gregg Popovich and the Spurs got their revenge on the Grizzlies for spoiling Tony Parker’s jersey retirement night by blowing Memphis out 145-115. Giving up 145 points is a franchise high for the Grizzlies, as the Spurs shot over 60% from the field and beyond the arc. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs early and often en route to a 40 point game.
Although they got blown out, there were still plenty of positives for the Grizzlies as they looked good on the offensive end and were able to compete with the Spurs despite them shooting lights out from the field. The Spurs aren’t quite as good as they used to be, but any team under Popovich is capable of putting together the effort the Spurs did last night.
Let’s see how the Grizzlies graded out.
The Young Core
The young trio of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke really stood out in last night’s loss. JJJ led the way with 22 points and shooting 6-9 from beyond the arc further cementing his status as a long-range sniper. Ja was electric as usual on his way to 19 points and 4 assists with a handful of highlight plays. Clarke chipped in 10 points and 4 rebounds, shooting 5-9 from the field. Despite the loss, it was good to see the guys that really matter play well.
It was a brutal night for Jae Crowder. After starting the season on fire, Crowder has cooled off in recent weeks as rumors of trade discussions begin to build up. Last night Crowder scored just 4 points on 1-9 shooting in 30 minutes of action. Seen as a veteran presence and trade piece, this type of performance isn’t going to help the Grizzlies in such talks. Simply put, Crowder has to be better.
Dillon Brooks continued his roller coaster season with a dud against the Spurs. His numbers - 14 points on 5-11 shooting - aren’t terrible, but the film tells the whole story. Dillon has always been a scorer more than anything, but he really makes you wonder sometimes if he knows how to pass the ball when watching games like the Spurs loss. Dillon is easily predictable when he has the ball; he’s either going to catch and shoot, or he’s going to drive in the lane and force a contested layup or mid-range jumper. His inability to get others involved can really hurt the Grizzlies offense.
- Jonas Valanciunas quietly had a great game for the Grizzlies. He was somewhat of a liability defensively in guarding Trey Lyles and LaMarcus Aldridge but he was solid offensively, scoring 18 points, and also grabbed 12 rebounds. He was also the only Grizz starter with a positive +/- with a +2. Grade- B+
- Tyus Jones chipped in 11 points and 3 assists for the Grizzlies and was one of the key guys as the Grizzlies clawed their way back from the big deficit in the first half. He went another game without a turnover, now having 44 assists to just 2 turnovers in his last 9 games. In a bad team performance, Tyus’ steadiness on the offensive end helped the Grizzlies keep it close. Grade- B
- Taylor Jenkins continues to struggle with his rotation. The previously mentioned Crowder played 30 minutes of painful basketball, while Kyle Anderson played just 6 minutes prior to garbage time. Jenkins continues to roll with an 11-man rotation and it’s causing Jenkins to overthink his lineups. When the Spurs are scoring the way they were last night, there’s no reason a guy like Kyle - who is known for being a solid defender - to not get more than 6 minutes of action. That said, Jenkins does deserve some credit for keeping the offense going and keeping the young guys engaged when they could have checked out and starting looking ahead to their holiday plans. Grade- C