The Memphis Grizzlies recorded their second double-digit loss on the 2021-22 season last night as they fell to a red hot Miami Heat team. The Grizzlies went into the half trailing by double-digits, and you figured with the Heat’s hot start, that both trends couldn’t stand true.
You’d be wrong.
The Grizzlies couldn’t find an answer for the Heat’s offensive explosion on Saturday night at FedExForum in Memphis. Miami shot 56% from three-point land, and 52% from the field. Was this just a case of Miami coming in hot, or could Memphis have prevented this early in the game? Let’s get to the grades.
Ja Morant: 20 points, 6/12 FG, 4/4 FT, 4/7 3PT, 5 assists, 3 steals, +/- of -31 in 27 minutes (Grade: C)
Ja Morant’s performance against the Miami Heat on Saturday was meh. I honestly don’t think that there was anything more that he could’ve done to move the needle for Memphis on Saturday night. Playing the best defensive team in the NBA will expose somethings, and for not just Morant but the Grizzlies as a whole, their entire offense...or lack-thereof…was exposed.
Morant thrived in transition, but when it came down to half-court sets, Ja just couldn’t get to his spots in the paint, and when he found open guys, the Heat recovered. Miami just played better.
De’Anthony Melton: 20 points, 5 assists, 6/12 FG, 4/7 3PT, 4/4 FT, 3 steals, 1 block, 3 rebounds, +/- of -14 (Grade C+)
De’Anthony Melton struggled all night staying attached to his assignment(s). Yes, assignments, as Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins kept reassigning Melton to the Heat’s hottest scorers. Starting on Duncan Robinson, then to Jimmy Butler, then to Tyler Herro when he was on the floor. Melton fought through screens, and closed out well, but Miami was just hot offensively.
Melton shot the ball well, and started a personal 8-0 to begin the fourth quarter, but that run of course got squashed. Overall, Melton did his thing on both ends of the floor, but could’ve been sharper when getting over screens early in the game. Miami played really efficient offensively.
Some Other Grades / Thoughts
- Jaren Jackson Jr. struggled for the entirety of Saturday night’s game. It is what it is for Jackson Jr. Scoring 8 points, grabbing 3 rebounds, shooting 3/12 (0/8 from 3PT) with 2 blocks. It appears to be a combination of things for Jaren. Of course his role at the four right now in a space offense. Jaren doesn’t have to shoot three’s and could’ve attacked the Heat defense off the dribble. All three of his makes last night were inside the paint. The game plan has to be more solid for Jaren, and Jackson Jr., must prepare better for his matchups nightly. (Grade D)
- Desmond Bane continues to shoot the ball well. Another solid showing from the Grizzlies second year wing. Bane continues to get open attempts despite the defense knowing his capabilities beyond the arc. Bane’s progression from year one to year to creating off the dribble has been fantastic, and adds another layer to his game. Bane dropped 17 points, 6/13 FG (5/10 3PT) in 25 minutes. (Grade B-)