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Report Card: Grizzlies can’t keep up with Indy

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Justin Holiday just hit another three

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

“There is no I in team.”

But there is one in losing and that is exactly what the Grizzlies did against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. With some context, the Pacers are a good team that will be a tough out in the playoffs and the Grizzlies were on the second night of a back to back, missing two starters and their first two players off the bench.

Basketball is a team sport, so maybe I have been too harsh at times on individual players after a team loss. (Actually, I sat behind an ex-player’s very vocal mother at a Grizzlies game last season, and she told me that us over at GBB are just mean!)

For tonight’s report card, I will grade the team as a whole, so here we go:

Three Point Line:

On both offense and defense, the arc was all foe and no friend for the Grizzlies. Offensively, it makes sense — second night of a back to back means tired legs, no legs in a jump shot is never a good thing.

The problem is that while the team struggled to shoot from deep, they kept doing it. The old adage “shoot your way out of a slump” is not advice this team should listen to. There are no dead eye sharpshooters on this roster. So if you don’t have it one night from deep, find another way to be productive.

Defensively, the Grizz were torched from deep. Sure, they were late on rotations some, and even lazy on other shots, not getting a hand up — but the Pacers were in a different zone, hitting even contested shots all night long to the tune of 42%.

As a matter of fact, Justin Holiday just hit another three.

GRADE: F

Rebounding

I told my wife heading into this game that Memphis was going to lose tonight because they were going to get worked on the glass. Jaren is a weak rebounder going up against Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, who are superior in the glass attacking arena.

The Grizz did get out rebounded in the game, but only by 6. If it wasn't for De’Anthony Melton and Solomon Hill combining for almost half the team rebounds, it would have been much uglier. Sabonis grabbed more boards than Jaren Jackson Jr., Hill and Bruno Caboclo by himself (14-10).

While they did not get blown out on the backboards, they still lost that battle which was a key reason they ultimately lost the war.

GRADE: D

STEP UP PLAYERS

Solomon Hill drew the start tonight due to Brandon Clarke and Kyle Anderson both being out of the lineup and Melton was in line for significant minutes after his near triple double on Sunday and the absence of Ja Morant. In order for Memphis to win back to back games, they were going to need these two players to step up.

Coach Jenkins got what he might expect from Dillon Brooks and Jackson Jr., but the play of Hill and Melton had to be a pleasant surprise despite the loss. Hill went 4-6 from deep, finishing with 22 points 6 rebounds and 3 steals. He was also a team high +2 in his 33 minutes of play.

Melton or “Baby Russ” was excellent again, warranting more minutes as the season continues. He had 16 points 9 rebounds and 4 assists which was good for an even +/- in his 25 minutes of play. Melton seemed to always be around the ball and making a play for the team. Don’t be surprised to see him force his way into some minutes at the expense of Tyus Jones or Grayson Allen in the future.

GRADE: A

The Grizzlies beating Minnesota without Ja, Kyle and Jonas was great, but not something to ever be expected. Their over/under on the night was 103.5, so they continue to play better than they are expected, but this is just another night in a season that will have plenty of nights like it.

Hang in there Grizz fans, the future is bright.

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