Saturday night on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers the Grizzlies took a lead into the fourth quarter, only to watch it become undone and result in a 112-107 loss.
Different venue and one point different, but same result.
I’m not going to sugar coat this, but this game was hard to watch. Nonetheless, we need to be critical about what took place. Grades? In the words of Tone Loc...
Joakim Noah looked like the pre-NY Jo again
Noah put up 16 points and 7 rebounds to go along with some assists/steals/blocks along the way to really have another all-around good game. Every time Noah touched the ball, came into the game, or really did anything to make his presence known, a chorus of boos would rain down upon him for the Cleveland fans. Why? If you don’t remember, let me refresh your memory.
Jonas Valanciunas kept the Grizzlies in the game in the fourth.
Jonas scored 13 of his team-high 25 points in the final frame, including the 3 ball above to put the Grizzlies up 103-101, their final lead of the game. He also picked up 11 rebounds on the way to his 7th double-double of the season, and second as a Grizzly. Jonas is taking full advantage of the opportunity for more playing time that’s put in front of him. I feel so much better now about what we got in the deal that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto.
Delon Wright led the team in minutes played and still led in plus/minus
Speaking of the trade with Toronto...Delon Wright. Listen, Delon isn’t lighting the world on fire or anything thus far in Memphis. His points per game average of 8.8 over his 5 games since the trade is his highest of his career, but the sample size is still quite small. His 15 points Saturday were just shy of his career-high of 17 back on January 13th when he was still a Raptor. Wright also managed to lead the team with a 14 plus/minus despite not scoring in the fourth and having a -5 p/m in the fourth alone. He’s another player showing that when given an extended opportunity for minutes, he’s taking advantage.
A majority of the active roster gets a D for disappearing in the fourth quarter. Aside from Valanciunas, Noah, Mike Conley, and CJ Miles, everyone else on the active roster Saturday put up a big fat zero on the scoreboard in the fourth. Not the best look when trying to convey a draft pick and needing a win against one of the worst teams in the league.
Mike Conley gets a C for trying to make the best out of this situation. Mike’s trying. He really is. But this team is not very good. 18 points and 5 boards was good, but not enough in the end.
JB Bickerstaff gets a B only because he’s been given a technical foul the last two games. JB is mad as hell and isn’t going to take this anymore! If you get that movie reference, props to you. If not, it’s because I’m old. Seriously, it’s nice to see some fire from JB.
The Grizzlies will play their next round of Mission: Convey on Monday night at FedExForum against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.