That’s a bad loss.
There’s really no way to sugarcoat it – a blowout loss on the road to a 1-win Pelicans team is a bad loss. Sure, the Grizzlies were playing in the 2nd night of a back-to-back and yeah, they have played the 2nd hardest schedule in the league so far, but still, there’s no excuse for it.
The problems that have plagued the Grizzlies this young season showed up once again --- not being able to defend and once again the victim of a big run (16-3 in the first) to where they were not able to climb back into the game.
If not for an incredible come from behind win Monday against Minnesota, the Grizzlies would be staring right at a five-game losing streak. For brief moment in the third, and then again in the fourth, I thought the Grizz may be able to catch up with the Pelicans, but it just didn’t happen.
It’s not just the defense that’s having problems, the Grizzlies are also having trouble shooting the ball. In the four losses over the last five games, the loss to the Pelicans was their best shooting night – 43%, and the only time the team shot better than 24% from three.
Sure, it’s frustrating and it’s not fun to lose in a blowout, especially to a team the Grizz are better than. And as much as people want to act like the sky is falling with the Grizz – they still have 69 games left to play, are 6-7 on the season, and sit in the 9 spot in the West. That means plenty of time to figure it out --- I’m still 30 games or so away from pushing the panic button. But, ask me again on Monday if the Grizz get blown out by Houston, I may have a different answer.
While it was mostly bad, it wasn’t all terrible for the Grizz, so let’s hand out some grades:
Jaren Jackson Jr.: 4 points (1-8 FG, 0-3 3PT), 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 22 minutes (Grade: F)
It pains me to write this, because I’ve been pretty high on Trips heading into the season, but this is his worst performance so far this season. He played just 22 minutes, and it wasn’t even due to foul trouble.
This was a game where Jaren just couldn’t get anything going and looked outmatched and frustrated. Taylor Jenkins instead went with Kyle Anderson, who I will discuss later in this piece. Jaren started 0-6, and then got some extended rest, as he didn’t play in the final 9:20 of the first half. He wasn’t too much of a factor when he returned after halftime.
Ja can’t do it all himself, he needs some help, and Jaren needs to be that guy.
Dillon Brooks: 23 points (8-18 FG, 2-4 3PT), 5 rebounds, 31 minutes (Grade: B)
Brooks made his first start of the season, after returning to the team Wednesday night. Despite losing, I would say it was a successful return for Brooks. He led the Grizz in scoring with 23 points, and he showed shades of the Dillon we saw last year.
He is once again playing with a chip on his shoulder and was doing what he could to try and will the Grizzlies to a win. He knocked down a couple of big shots when the Grizz tried to claw their way back in the 2nd half.
He still needs a few more games to get his legs underneath him to be that X-factor on the defense that the Grizz desperately need. The one other complaint I would have is that he didn’t have any assists. Last season, we did see a good amount of playmaker Dillon, and I expect to see some of that over the next week or two.
Kyle Anderson: 13 points (5-9 FG, 1-3 3PT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 24 minutes (Grade: B-)
Slo-mo played some key minutes for the Grizzlies in Saturday night’s loss to the Pelicans. He was a big part of the run for the Grizz in the third quarter that cut the Pelicans lead down from 22 to 9. Anderson has proven to be an important piece for the Grizzlies and can play extended minutes if called upon.
I do wish Anderson wasn’t so conservative at time when it comes to his shot. He’s too passive at times and sometimes tries to make an extra pass or passes up an open shot and that can sometimes lead to a turnover.
All things considered, solid all-around game from ‘Slo-mo’.
Final Grade: D
In the majority of the Grizzlies losses this season, it’s been a rinse and repeat situation, and that needs to stop. The Pelicans had not won since October 29th and had no business running the Grizzlies out of the gym, but props to them.
Final takeaway is that the Memphis Grizzlies need to learn how to play defense and Jaren has got to bring it every night. Ja is doing that and you can start to notice at times that he is getting worn down trying to put the entire team on his shoulders.
If Jaren isn’t that guy, the Grizzlies have to find a consistent second scorer to Ja.
Next Up: vs. Houston Rockets at FedExForum on Monday
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