In this game preview, Joe Mullinax said it was bound to be a fun one with exciting matchups like Ja Morant and Anthony Edwards, as well as Jaren Jackson Jr. and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Ja Morant. Anthony Edwards. Jaren Jackson Jr. Karl-Anthony Towns.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) November 8, 2021
This should be a lot of fun.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Game Preview https://t.co/BgjZv44Z6u pic.twitter.com/aFicRAmndv
The stars showed out, and some of their supporting cast rose up to the occasion as well. After a game of runs, we got a wild, thrilling ending to the game — one with the emotions and thrill that we haven’t really experienced since the season’s suspension in March 2020.
Big plays were made, and the entertainment level was at a peak. Let’s do some grades.
Brandon Clarke: 20 points (8-11 shooting), 9 rebounds, 1 block, +/- of +9 in 24 minutes (Grade: A)
The Memphis Grizzlies have a good, unique problem of too much depth — there will be a good NBA player that’ll have to catch the “DNP-CD,” or garbage time instead of crunch time. Brandon Clarke has been that guy recently, and he got the opportunity for regular minutes as Ziaire Williams was out with a wrist injury.
He made the most of it.
Clarke provided energy on both ends of the floor — running the floor to get set for easy buckets, cutting to the basket, crashing for rebounds, and defending around the rim without fouling. He helped provide a legitimate jolt to a team needing some life, especially in that 1st quarter. Clarke also had to step into the “5” spot in overtime, after Jaren Jackson fouled out. He made some huge offensive rebounds and put-backs, while maintaining good defensive activity as well.
The Memphis Grizzlies have talked about the importance of the “next man up” mentality, and how that’s been embodied for the past 3 years.
There may not have been a better example than Brandon Clarke’s explosion last night. Now we await the domino effects, but Clarke made a resounding case to stay in the fold.
De’Anthony Melton: 16 points (7-12 shooting, 3-6 from 3), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, +/- of +7 in 32 minutes (Grade: B+)
De’Anthony Melton deserves a shout here for his glue-guy tendencies and really providing a spark late in the game for the Grizzlies. His outside shooting was pretty pivotal for them, as they couldn’t really get much going from the perimeter in terms of 3-point makes and volume. He made some nifty plays inside the arc as well with timely cuts, connective passing good off-the dribble juice — including a thunderous dunk over Karl-Anthony Towns.
More impressively, Melton was absolutely massive defensively. He made 2 steals in regulation that led to fast-break opportunities, and he nearly picked off the full-court inbounds pass that preceded Karl-Anthony Towns’ game-tying 3. He also played a major part in slowing down Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell in the regulation, as they went cold.
D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards were a combined 4-14 (28.6%) in the fourth quarter and overtime.— Logan (@LaltenNBA) November 9, 2021
Mr. Do Something did a lot to ensure a Grizzlies win.
Ja Morant: 33 points (10-24 shooting, 3-6 from 3), 8 assists, 6 rebounds, +/- of +4 (Grade: A-)
Ja Morant continued to dazzle and to show why he’s going to be an All-Star this season.
He was pretty steady throughout the game, helping the Grizzlies power through a slow start. One way to do that is with a resounding alley oop.
*Alexa, play Levitating by Dua Lipa* pic.twitter.com/fGmtB2v89H— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) November 9, 2021
He sliced through the Timberwolves defense with his passing and his creativity in the paint as well. In crunch time though, Ja answered the call. He found the exact switches that he wanted and attacked, like a shark that smells blood. He did so through a killer downhill jam past Jaden McDaniels, and a 3-point dagger right between Towns’ eye.
This game was another statement game for the many accolades that Ja Morant could be in contention for this year.
- The best and the worst with Jaren Jackson. Jackson didn’t have his best showing through his first 3 quarters, particularly being hampered with foul trouble. He showcased the full bag in regulation, as he attacked from deep and inside the arc offensively, while making massive defensive plays — including a big help-side block on D’Angelo Russell. (Grade: C+)
- No three’s from Desmond Bane. Like our Site Manager Joe Mullinax said: “We will never speak of this again.” He still made good plays inside the arc though. (Grade: B-)
- Steven Adams looked out of place. Honestly, Adams didn’t look like a good fit in this game. He struggled defending the interior against the Wolves, and he also looked like he was at a disadvantage when they spaced him out. I’d keep an eye on his development, with Jaren Jackson having a lot of his best moments coming at the 5. (Grade: D)
- Kyle Anderson, the connector. Kyle Anderson is such a good glue guy. He makes plays off the dribble, finds his teammates, defends at a high level, and hits a few 3’s. His 12-9-7 stat-line yielded a team-high +15 +/-, and he’s continuing to play at the level he was at last season as the starting 4. (Grade: A)