“Next man up” has become an irrefutable mantra in Memphis recently, and it was no different tonight as the Memphis Grizzlies stunned the Los Angeles Lakers 108-95 despite missing four rotation players and two of their four leading scorers. Jaren Jackson Jr. picked up the slack in the absence of Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks especially, totaling 25 points on 9-18 shooting and 5 rebounds while totally out playing Anthony Davis.
Here are a few takeaways:
The Lakers are broken
If tonight was Frank Vogel’s last game as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, I wouldn’t be shocked. However, he’s not the problem. The Lakers have a roster defined by dysfunction and mismatched pieces that are led by a point guard in Russell Westbrook who’s just as likely to dribble the ball off his foot as he is to make a winning basketball play (he had 6 turnovers and shot 3-9 from the field).
They have much to figure out, and I’m not sure if they can be figured out.
Jaren Jackson Jr: Future Superstar?
After Jaren struggled tremendously during the first month of the season, I generally thought a star outcome for him was unlikely. But his recent stretch of play has me thinking that was premature.
It wasn’t just that he played great on both ends tonight; it was how he looked as he did it. He often was physically dominant, such as when he overwhelmed Anthony Davis in the low post for a left-hand hook shot late in the third quarter. He’s carrying himself with a different aura, and it’s tangibly noticeable in his recent superb play.
God Bless the Bench Mob:
When Jarrett Culver, who was fantastic off the bench and was a +13 on the night, made a fadeaway middie over LeBron in the 4th quarter, you knew the game was over. Contributions like his were the main reason why the Grizzlies won. Xavier Tillman, John Konchar, and Culver finished with a +19, +14, and +13 point differential on the night.