MEMPHIS! Come on rise up! After a week and a half of miserable 4th quarter meltdowns, the Memphis Grizzlies ended their four game losing streak. As the chill of an oncoming ice storm settled over the city of Memphis, the Memphis Grizzlies played some of their best basketball in the last two weeks thanks to a barrage of three pointers unlike anything the city has seen.
It was a slow start in Memphis, as the Grizzlies started the game with a number of turnovers offensively and an uncharacteristic approach that veered away from the paint reliant play that led to a seven game win streak last month. Instead, eight of the Grizzlies first eleven shots came from deep in response to the 2-3 zone the Charlotte Hornets deployed in the first quarter. An early Desmond Bane three set the tone, then suddenly threes began falling from the sky. Grayson Allen and Kyle Anderson paced the Memphis Grizzlies to a franchise record 23 three pointers as the three pointer was pivotal in the Grizzlies 130-114 win over Charlotte.
The last few games have been a struggle for what had been an elite defense to start the season. To begin last night’s contest, it was more of the same, as Terry Rozier was able to heat up as the Hornets went blow for blow with the hot shooting Grizzlies in the first half keeping it to a 2 point deficit at halftime. In the second half, glimpses of the elite Grizzlies defense reared its head as they wreaked havoc creating turnovers and turning turnovers into offense. The Grizzlies holding the Hornets to 15 points in the third helped them create an insurmountable lead and hopefully start a positive trend for the team heading into their West Coast road trip.
Kyle Anderson - 24 minutes played, 10-14 shooting (6-8 3PT), 27 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 0 turnovers, +1 +/-
Remember the Kyle Anderson that NEVER shot threes? Yeah me either.
Here’s a fun fact: Kyle Anderson made 9 threes over the course of 43 games with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2018-19 season. In last night’s game alone, Kyle Anderson made SIX in a performance that had to have made Shane Battier smile as he poured in threes from the right corner.
The shooting stroke a finally healthy Kyle Anderson has been able to surmount has been a welcome revelation for Taylor Jenkins and the Memphis Grizzlies, as he is making three pointers at an unprecedented clip. Kyle Anderson was everywhere last night and got so hot that it reached a point where Desmond Bane and others went out of their way to feed him, and he simply couldn’t miss whether he was wide open or covered by defenders. His offense is the story — as a career-night spearheaded a special night for the franchise, he was responsible for roughly 26% of the 23 threes made last night. Anderson’s defense is also to be commended as he managed to contain PJ Washington and Gordon Hayward on the other side of the floor only building on a stellar night for Anderson.
Grayson Allen - 30 minutes, 5-13 shooting (5-12 3PT), 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, +1 +/-
The final stat line does not do Grayson Allen’s performance justice. In the first quarter, Grayson Allen fulfilled his Duke Blue Devil prophecy of being JJ Redick reincarnated from the left wing before tailing off in the later stages of the game.
With Desmond Bane’s promotion to the starting lineup and De’Anthony Melton sidelined, the bench sorely missed a perimeter scorer Monday against the Toronto Raptors. Would it have been nice for the hot streak to continue? Sure, but Allen getting more and more consistent from deep makes defenses have to respect him and his jump shot. That in itself is Grayson Allen doing his job as it changes how opposing defenses cover Tyus Jones and Ja Morant, depending on which unit he is running with and takes pressure off of players like Dillon Brooks - more on him in a bit- to chunk up threes.
Dillon Brooks - 30 minutes, 8-13 shooting (4-8 3PT), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, +15 +/-
We are once again discussing Dillon Brooks. This was Dillon Brooks at his best, and the Dillon Brooks that will most likely become more commonplace if the Grizzlies ever get 100% healthy.
Defensively, numbers don’t necessarily jump off of the screen. but all night Brooks did the little things of taking away driving angles for a Hornets offenses predicated on driving and kicking. He was also his usual self, as he filled his minutes with hustle plays on both ends, but it was his play offensively that helped everyone. Dillon Brooks’ offensive gameplan is one that has seen him at highest productivity levels in his NBA career thus far. Last night, Dillon Brooks wasn’t the scorer that had to hunt for the three ball or chunk up shots because of teammates being unwilling to shoot. Instead, Dillon Brooks worked inside out, starting with mid-range jumpers before working out behind the arc. The 4-8 from deep was built off building confidence inside the arc at an 80% clip as well as his teammates being willing to AND making three point shots.
Everything and everyone works together on a basketball court and hopefully this is a sign of things to come for Dillon and the Grizzlies.
The performances of Anderson, Allen, and Brooks stood out but they weren’t the only ones. Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas both poured in double-doubles. Tyus Jones’s cold streak that saw him shooting 27% from deep is officially over, as he added another good shooting night to the stat sheet — making 3-4 threes last night. Desmond Bane tried his best to solidify his spot in the starting lineup with a career-high 18 points, strengthened by shooting 4-8 from beyond the arc.
After a few gut-punching losses, it felt good to win in a dominant fashion. The Grizzlies played well and gave themselves a foundation to build from as their West coast road trip begins Friday vs. the Lakers, as they look to potentially start a winning streak and avenge close losses to the Lakers without Ja Morant earlier this season.
GRIZZLIES GRADE: A