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Report Card: Grizzlies Silence the Spurs

Led by their dynamic duo, the Grizzlies proved ready for the challenge against the Spurs.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies continued opening eyes and defying odds with their 134-121 win against the Spurs on Friday night. The way that the Grizzlies won is not all that surprising based off their recent play; however, the stage on which the Grizzlies shined will likely make this a memorable night. Sure, more than half the season is left and a lot can happen. However, this Grizzlies team continues to show that their capabilities and ceiling as a team is sky high.

As a whole, the Grizzlies team played one of their best games of the year. However, in arguably the biggest game of the season to this point, it was the Grizzlies best talents who stepped forward.Lets hand out of a few grades for their efforts. (Spoiler Alert: Everyone Passed.)

Ja Morant: Grade A

While Morant has had many other impressive games and moments, in my opinion, this was the best game of his career. There has not been a more significant stage to shine, and Morant absolutely stole the spotlight. He became the first Grizzlies rookie in franchise history to record 20 or more points and 14 or more assists. His historic night individually served as the catalyst for the team as a whole. For just the second time in franchise history (and the second time in their last four games), the Grizzlies produced 38 or more assists and 15 or more threes in a single game.

This is the fifth straight game Morant has shot over 50%. His offensive production across the board is becoming more consistent at above average levels. As a result, the Grizzlies roster as a whole is currently playing at an offensive level not seen before in franchise history.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Jaren Jackson Jr.: Grade A

Just like Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. is becoming consistent on an elite level offensively. Jackson Jr. looked as poised and composed throughout the game. Though he did get into foul trouble in the second half, he went nearly the entire first half before he picked up his first foul. Furthermore, he found success playing his game, as this is now his 12th straight game with 2 or more threes. It is no surprise that as Jackson Jr. has become one of the game’s best three point shooters, the Grizzlies continue to prove their offense can compete with anyone.

Brandon Clarke and the Grizzlies bench: Grade A

Though Clarke is the one highlighted with his all-around effort tonight of 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks, the Grizzlies bench as a whole showed strong support for the starters. They outproduced the Spurs almost entirely across the board, and besides Rudy Gay, kept the Spurs reserves relatively quiet. The efforts of the bench allowed the Grizzlies to keep their starters fresh, while the Spurs heavy reliance on DeMar DeRozan and LeMarcus Aldridge made them tire down the stretch. If the Grizzlies are to remain in the playoff picture for the rest of the season, the bench must have more games like it did tonight.

Taylor Jenkins: B+

I could not give Coach Jenkins an A due to giving up 121 points, but I think that he would be alright with that. However, his efforts shined tonight as well. The Grizzlies dictated the flow and pace of the game for most of the night, and took the Spurs out their normal routine. The Grizzlies out produced the Spurs significantly in terms of points in the paint, rebounds, and assists.

Jenkins’ frequent and effective lineup changes allowed the Grizzlies to stay fresh and productive. As a result, while DeRozan seemed nearly unstoppable for the first three quarters with 31 points, he was good for only five points in the fourth quarter as he looked fatigued. And though the Spurs were certainly productive offensively, the Grizzlies made sure no other Spurs player got hot for an extended period, which included limiting Aldridge to just 11 points over the final three quarters. While the development of his key talents are the main reason the Grizzlies have been playing at a high level, Jenkins continues to add value with his adjustments and decision-making.

Enjoy it, Memphis. Meaningful basketball is back at FedExForum for the least for now.