The Grizzlies season came to an unfortunate end yesterday as they fell 126-122 to the Portland Trail Blazers in the first game of the play-in tournament. It was an exciting game from tip to finish as the Grizzlies and Blazers traded blows before the Blazers got the last punch and ended the Grizzlies season.
Despite the loss, it was a solid performance from an undermanned Grizzlies squad. Here’s how the team graded out.
Ja Morant: 35 points (Career high), 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 13-28 from the field (3-6 from three), -15
Ja Morant put on a show for the NBA world in the play-in game as he scored a career high 35 points and put the Grizzlies on his back in his attempts to lead them to the playoffs. Ja was aggressive all afternoon and helped control the Grizzlies offense throughout his 42 minutes. He did all of this with a fractured thumb, too, making the performance even more impressive.
Jonas Valanciunas: 22 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, 8-16 from the field (0-4 from three), +12
The Lithuanian big fella ate up again just days after notching his first career triple-double. He was dominant in the post and made the adjustments in the second half to contain Jusuf Nurkic after Nurkic notched a first half double-double. JV forced some three’s in the 4th quarter and let Nurkic get going again late but overall it was a strong performance from JV.
Brandon Clarke: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 8-11 from the field (4-5 from three), 2 blocks, -27
The Grizzlies uber-efficient rookie put together a stellar performance against the Blazers. After scoring a career high 27 points against the Blazers back in February, Clarke torched the Blazers yesterday and had a career day from beyond the arc making a career high 4 three-pointers. Clarke was also solid defensively picking up two blocks but made an error late overhelping off Carmelo Anthony who knocked down the dagger for the Blazers.
Dillon Brooks (A): Good Dillon was out in full force against the Blazers as he dropped 20 points and picked up 4 rebounds while playing solid defense on Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Brooks shot 7-18 from the field but all the shots were within the Grizzlies offense and weren’t forced like he had been doing most of the bubble. Dillon was a key factor in the Grizzlies nearly coming away with the win.
The Bench Trio (C): Outside of Clarke, the Grizzlies bench didn’t have the spark to help carry the Grizzlies to victory. Gorgui Dieng, Grayson Allen and De’Anthony Melton combined to score just 8 points on 3-9 shooting. The trio didn’t particularly play bad, but they didn’t play great either.
Kyle Anderson (B): Kyle had a great all-around game against the Blazers scoring 10 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists and playing fine defense. Kyle shot 4-6 from the field and made some big baskets for the Grizzlies.
Anthony Tolliver (B): Tolliver was a team high +21 in 23 minutes of action against the Blazers on Saturday. He chipped in 7 points on 2-4 shooting but it would’ve been nice if he could have picked up more than just 3 rebounds.
It was a disappointing end to the season for the Grizzlies but they played well despite the loss.