The new look Memphis Grizzlies have been fun to watch. Avery Bradley has played above expectations so far and Jonas Valanciunas has been incredible.
Coming out of the All-Star break the inactive report was not a good look if the Grizz were hoping to get a win towards their goal of conveying. Jonas and Jaren Jackson Jr. were not available for the game.
What is crazy is that the king of the Injury Report, Chandler Parsons, was not listed with knee soreness. Believe it or not Chancun was active after being away from the team for several weeks.
Memphis came out of the gates as if they just laid around in their beds all break eating cheeseburgers. The rust was obvious. The Clippers allowed the Grizz to hang around for most of the quarter but as the lineups began to feature a lot of guys that have never really played with each other, the ball stopped and the defense suffered allowing LA to end the first quarter with a 13 point lead.
Mike Conley Jr. looked as if he left his skills at the Skills Challenge in Charlotte. He had a couple of very uncharacteristic turnovers and struggled to hit the easiest of shots, including two free throws at the end of the half. The Grizzlies got down big but worked their way back into this game on the good play of Ivan Rabb and surviving the high volume
sharpshooter Joakim Noah. Rabb rebounded well, passed the ball well and extended his shot to above the free throw line. Tyler Dorsey and CJ Miles knocked down a couple of threes to spark the closing run winning the quarter by one point to be down 12 at the half.
If you are a Grizz fan that watches every game, reads about the team, or just watches a few games, you know the third quarter is when the wheels fall off the bus. Not so fast my friend. The Grizzlies outscored the Clippers 33-18 with ZERO turnovers. They turned a 22 point deficit from midway in the second quarter into a 3 point lead heading into the fourth. Conley found a better rhythm while still missing free throws, and Ivan Rabb continued to blossom.
Remember that game against the Spurs a few weeks ago when the referees didn't call a foul against the Spurs in the fourth quarter until 1 second remaining in the game? I am not one to blame the refs because we missed several free throws throughout the game, but they did not do us any favors. 3 out of the 4 quarters the free throw discrepancy was outrageous. Whatever momentum Memphis built in the third quarter, quickly faded in the fourth as the Clips regained the lead rather quickly and never looked back. Danilo Gallinari was scoreless in the third but caught fired at the end and Montrezl Harrell was unstoppable the entire night.
With the news of Jaren Jackson’s injury by Woj mid-game, the loss might actually be a good loss if you are team tank. Those who are looking to convey the pick this year, this was a tough game to drop. Hopefully it was just rust from the All Star break and the Grizz rattle a few wins off centered around Conley and Jonas.