At least the hideous road trip is over!
The Memphis Grizzlies returned home after a brutal 4-game road stretch, looking to avenge their loss to the Sacramento Kings. They resembled the team we’ve seen most of the season. Ja Morant was playing with swagger, attacking the rim with flare and letting his opponents know about it. Dillon Brooks found his shot again, and he was scoring at 3 levels. Jonas Valanciunas was a mad man on the glass. De’Anthony Melton was quietly doing something throughout the game.
However, the lack of depth and the excellence of De’Aaron Fox proved to be too much, as the Grizzlies couldn’t snap their cold spell.
The Grizzlies desperately need their two young bigs back, as you could tell the bench is depleted from Melton and Kyle Anderson having to play up a role. In addition, they had to give minutes to guys that have been in Southaven all season. Not necessarily a good thing.
Anyways, how did these players grade out in last night’s loss?
Dillon Brooks (A): 32 points, 12-22 shooting (3-7 from deep), +3
He’s back! After a rough shooting slump this month, Brooks rediscovered his touch and exploded for a big scoring night. He was scoring in a variety of ways — from 3, off the dribble, in the mid-range, and at the rim. Brooks also played strong defense, as Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, and Buddy Hield shot a combined 6-27 from the field.
He truly looked like the Dillon Brooks we all saw prior to his contract extension, proving why he earned it in the first place.
It seriously couldn’t come at a better time, as the Grizzlies are in dire need of a scoring punch from the perimeter.
Dillon Brooks coming out of his slump pic.twitter.com/8lYIloCX7R— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 29, 2020
Ja Morant (A-): 20 points, 11 assists, 7-17 shooting, -1
Ja Morant came out swinging in this one, which is quite rare given it seems like he turns on the jets in the fourth quarter. He did a great job attacking the rim and creating for others in this game.
The “-” part here is getting outplayed by De’Aaron Fox again, but that should probably be expected. Fox is awesome. “Fourth Quarter Ja” really wasn’t on display here, aside from that last minute where he got the and-1.
Jonas Valanciunas (B+): 13 points, 25 rebounds, 4-14 shooting, +6
Anybody who hauls in 25 rebounds would be getting an “A” any other game. However, Valanciunas struggled a bit offensively. He shot 4-14 from the field, and he never really got his rhythm going in the low post. He missed a lot of shots he usually hits, and he couldn’t power through Alex Len and Harry Giles.
Nonetheless though, Valanciunas’ 25-rebound performance was mighty impressive, and it was impactful in this game. In addition, he deserves the “+” here for nearly going toe-to-toe with Giles, sending the Grindhouse in a frenzy.
- Josh Jackson (B+): Jackson didn’t kill it offensively, but he came up with multiple huge defensive possessions to keep the Grizzlies in the game longer than expected. As this team is going through the injury bug, he deserves more run.
- Gorgui Dieng (C-): This game was the Dieng’s worst performance as a Grizzly. He was off from the field, and it felt like each miss was ill-advised and killed momentum.
- De’Anthony Melton (B): Melton put together an efficient 10-6-6 game. His role as a secondary playmaker was huge, as the Grizzlies need an extra dose of playmaking while they’re missing their scoring punch.
Hopefully, the Grizzlies can bounce back tonight, as they take on the Lakers at 7.