Did you have a Memphis Grizzlies blowout victory with eight guys out due to injury on your New Year’s Day bingo card?
No? Same here.
Behind an impressive team effort where six Grizzlies scored in double figures, Memphis rang in the new year with a much needed victory 108-93. Here’s how the squad got it done.
Nothing came easy for Charlotte
This was one of the better defensive showings by the Grizzlies all season. Their rotations and movements were fluid, they executed well, and they seemed to have a heightened understanding of what the Hornets wanted to do on that end. Multiple Charlotte players struggled mightily offensively in this game, with Terry Rozier and DeVonte Graham being the largest examples shooting a combined 2-21 from the field. Memphis also won the turnover battle, forcing the Hornets in to 18 lost possessions (with the Grizzlies scoring 25 points off those turnovers) while the Grizzlies only fumbled away 15 such offensive opportunities.
Because of the solid defensive play and winning the turnover battle, Charlotte only scored eight fast break points. That is extremely low for the Hornets, considering the team led the entire NBA in fast break points entering Friday’s games. The Hornets were not able to create consistently in their half-court sets. That made a massive difference.
The best Tyus Jones of the season
Perhaps Tyus Stones is back! And just in time, too...Memphis needs Tyus’ steady hand and reliable ability to create offense for others more than ever with Ja Morant out. Jones had 12 assists in this game and only one turnover. That is what the Grizzlies front office prioritized bringing Tyus to Memphis instead of keeping Delon Wright - outside of age and fitting the Grizzlies development window a bit better, Jones is one of the very best in the NBA for his career when it comes to assist to turnover ratio. That has been slow to show itself early in this season, but it was on full display in this game.
A wonderful sight to see - Tyus has to be the primary facilitator of offense for this team if they hope to win games without Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and others. He led the team in +/- in this one and did his job quite well against a Hornets team that had supposedly better back court depth entering this game.
- Committee scoring is the way. Six players scored in double figures for Memphis, including four of the five starters. There are no superstars currently playing for the Grizzlies - hell, there aren’t any stars. There are a bunch of role players that are being given opportunity to show what they can do in bigger situations. They got it done tonight as a unit - and that has to stick around.
- Bouncy Brandon Clarke is back. 15 points, solid work protecting the rim and on defensive rotations, aggressive takes to the basket on offense...the night was solid for Brandon as he replaced Grayson Allen in the starting lineup. Memphis needs the Brandon Clarke from last season back in a big way, and while he isn’t all the way there yet he is certainly closer to that right now than he was a week ago.
- Desmond Bane has multiple threes in a game again. Five for five. Start him, you cowards.
The Memphis Grizzlies will be back home in FedExForum Sunday for a date with the Los Angeles Lakers.