This is so much better than tanking.
The Memphis Grizzlies came back after giving up a big lead in the first half and again in the 4th quarter to close out the Orlando Magic, pulling off the come from behind win 105-97. This was the third win in a row for Memphis, their first winning streak longer than two games since November.
Some thoughts on another great game for the Grizzlies as they race to convey.
Avery Bradley cares not for your advanced numbers
21 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists. Another game, another solid stat line from the latest player trying to remake himself in Memphis. Bradley was one of the leading scorers for the Grizzlies in this game and also consistently was guarding various perimeter threats for the Magic, from Terrance Ross to even the much taller Jonathan Issac at times. Avery has a versatility that transcends his size, which is very valuable for a Grizzlies team that has had too many one-position guys over the years. In theory Bradley shouldn’t be able to do what he does against bigger wings, and some analytical data will say that he actually does struggle a good bit at times...
Your eyes, though, once again say that Memphis is better for having Avery in the lineup. He’s a fascinating player to watch right now.
The recent Raptors are helping a lot
Captain Obvious here, letting you know that Jonas Valanciunas is quite good at basketball.
Where he surprised tonight, however, especially as the game ended and the Grizzlies pulled away late, is on the defensive end. A major block (which led to a Delon Wright and-one conversion that cut the lead to one) and a steal (which led to Conley made free throws) showed that while JV is not a strong defensive player on a consistent basis, he has the physical capacity to impact the game on that side of the floor. Four blocks in a weaker offensive performance (12 points on 11 shots) was a welcome sight, as was Delon’s aggression at the rim. Even C.J. Miles grabbed big rebounds and started the game strong with seven 1st quarter points.
Those that crushed the Marc Gasol trade are hopefully seeing that Memphis got a better return than they initially thought.
Mike Conley is a stud
14 fourth quarter points.
FOURTEEN FOURTH QUARTER POINTS.
OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN.
J.B. Bickerstaff has been criticized here, there and everywhere (mostly rightfully so), but his rotations have been better and Mike Conley has been better late in games because of it. The fact that Delon Wright is SO MUCH BETTER than Shelvin Mack helps too, but Conley is taking both new arrivals (better minutes management and backup point guard play) and turning them in to a renewed ability to be the closer Memphis needs late in games.
26 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds. The race to convey runs through the Conductor. As it should.
- Chandler Parsons should never, EVER, play the 3. He physically cannot do it at this stage of his career. There was a stretch of time where the Grizzlies played Miles at the 2, and Parsons at the 3, and Memphis unsurprisingly struggled. Parsons was a team-worst -10 in 14 minutes of play, but he also wasn’t always put in the best position to be successful.
- Bruno Caboclo is not thriving as he once was. Memphis coaches appear to see him as a power forward moving forward, which makes sense in a lot of ways. He doesn’t appear to be taking to the new role very smoothly at the moment. While it is also dependent on match-ups, Caboclo needs to display a more malleable style if he hopes to stick long-term in Memphis. The good news? He is still young, and raw, and should continue to get opportunity.
Memphis is off until Wednesday when they take on Trae Young, John Collins, and the Atlanta Hawks. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 PM CT.