Everyone is treated to a delightful matchup between two of the brightest young stars in the game — Ja Morant and LaMelo Ball. Michigan State fans get to see Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges face off against one another. In addition, everyone’s favorite villain, Dillon Brooks, makes his return for a season debut.
Ja Morant kicked things off in a flurry. Within the first 5 minutes, he scored 13 points, while showing an exquisite knack for getting to his shots and displaying his soft touch around the basket. Dillon Brooks entered the game midway through the 1st quarter, as he even got a foul within the 1st defensive possession. Morant continued putting on a show, scoring 19 points in the 1st quarter. Defense did not exist in the 1st quarter, as the Grizzlies led 36-34 after the period.
The Memphis Grizzlies started the first 5 minutes of the 2nd quarter without a single bucket, struggling to connect from deep, while not aggressively attacking the basket. The defense was loose as well, giving up 14 points in that same period. The Hornets’ lead grew to as much as 14, as the Grizzlies kept the 3-point line open for fire.
The Grizzlies opened the half on a 20-5 run, sparked after a LaMelo Ball flagrant foul. The defense turned up the intensity to generate stops and turnovesr that led to transition opportunities. Jaren Jackson Jr. supplied a good bit of offensive punch early, with 7 points — including a big put-back slam and a corner 3. The Hornets took the lead back, running into the 4th quarter with a 3-point lead.
Questionable rotation decisions led to a slow start to the 4th quarter. The offense started to pick up more when Jaren Jackson Jr. got into the game. The Grizzlies couldn’t contain the Hornets’ 3-point attack leading to a bummer loss, 118-108.
Death by Kelly Oubre is painful.
- Dillon Brooks hasn’t missed a beat. Dillon Brooks made his return, and was quite superb in his game, especially for a player making his season debut. He attacked for his shots, but also did a good job playing within the flow of the offense — 4 three’s and 5 assists. It’s good to get him back. Don’t expect him off the bench too long.
- Offnight from the starting wings. Desmond Bane probably had his worst game as a pro, and De’Anthony Melton didn’t shoot the lights out either. They combined for 1-14 from 3. You probably won’t get that again, but it was definitely a rough shooting night for the duo that’s typically lit it up from 3 this year.
- The team has to figure out offense without Ja Morant on the floor. The Grizzlies’ momentum would tail off when Morant is out of the game. That could be a common denominator for most games, so what’s the fix? Better lineup staggering with Jaren Jackson and/or Dillon Brooks on the floor would help a lot.
- Can someone please fix the perimeter defense? The Grizzlies gave up 15 three’s, including 7 to Kelly Oubre. It’s been a huge problem this season, and it needs fixing as soon as possible.
Tune in as the Grizzlies take on the Phoenix Suns on Friday.