The Memphis Grizzlies took to the hardwood Saturday night to finish up their 2020-21 preseason before starting their regular season on Wednesday night. Another matchup with the Hawks, and what seemed to be, at least at first another blow out...or so we thought.
Memphis jumped out to a 20-9 in the first quarter, and would outscore the Hawks 29-17 in the first frame. The Hawks would trim the Grizzlies double-digit lead to nine, outscoring the Grizzlies 34-32 in the second quarter. Memphis carried a 61-51 lead into the half, but would need more energy coming out of the break.
The Grizzlies held a 10-12 point lead for majority of the second half, but once the fourth quarter started the Grizzlies emptied their bench unit, and the Hawks were able to claw their way back into the game behind former Grizzly Solomon Hill. The Grizzlies would fall by a score of 117-116 to the Hawks in the final seconds.
With an overall solid preseason in the books, despite the loss the Grizzlies looked solid. Let’s knock out some grades.
Dillon Brooks - 17 points, 6/13 shooting from the field, and 5/8 from three point land in 20 minutes of game action. (B+)
I mentioned this on social media, but outside of the fouling issues Dillon Brooks like he is playing within himself more on the offensive end. Maybe it’s a more up-tempo Taylor Jenkins offense, which includes more transition opportunities for Brooks, but he just looks to be taking better shots. The rushed attempts seem to be gone, and DB is taking shots that seem to be high percentage - and it showed all preseason.
Brooks is the engine at times for this Grizzlies offense. Out of all of the Grizzlies starters, he is the only guy (on the perimeter) not named Ja Morant that can create his own shot. Brooks played a controlled game tonight, and that helped Memphis’ starting five stay efficient Saturday night.
Ja Morant - 15 points, 8 assists, and four rebounds in 24 minutes of game action. (B)
We knew coming into this game that Jenkins was going to scale his starting rotation back minutes wise. Morant, whom played three fantastic games in a row, wasn’t asked to do too much on Saturday night, and saw a cut in his minutes as the Grizzlies finished out their preseason.
For Morant, it was about maximizing his time on the floor, and that was the end of the second quarter, and at times in the third quarter. Sharing the ball, and creating for others. Despite only playing in 24 minutes, Morant was active in the offense for Memphis dropping eight dimes, and 15 points.
Crazy, because it felt like he was rather quiet tonight, but he has set the bar so high for himself. Despite the tough first half, turning the ball over, Morant played a solid game overall, and orchestrated the Grizzlies offense really well.
Grayson Allen - 13 points, 4-4 from the field, 3-3 from deep, and six rebounds in 18 minutes. (A-)
So many questions surrounded the Grizzlies starting shooting guard spot heading into Saturday night, and Allen seemed to squash any doubt about if he belonged. Dropping his first basket of the night on the left wing, and getting a finish around the basket, Allen played really well in all facets of the game.
Not only offensively but on the boards as well, he showed that he can help get some rebounds, Allen hauled in six rebounds for the Grizzlies tonight. Out of the four preseason games, Allen look more comfortable tonight than any, and didn’t look pressured when taking three point shots. He played within himself and Taylor Jenkins offense. Allen should be the starter on Wednesday night.
- De’Anthony Melton had himself quite the night from long range. Shooting 4/5 from the field and 4/6 from deep, Melton built on a strong preseason showing from deep. “Mr. Do Something” continues to progress into arguably the Grizzlies sixth man.
The Memphis Grizzlies tip-off their 2020-21 regular season at FedExForum on Wednesday night as they take on the San Antonio Spurs in Memphis.