On a frigidly cold night in the Mid-South, the Memphis Grizzlies provided a little warmth for their fans, bouncing back from the loss against the Los Angeles Zebras and dominating the King’s most of Valentine’s night.
The game was really never in question from the jump as Memphis jumped out to a 13-2 lead and never looked back. Due to the lack of superstars, the referees had no agenda to bring the Kings back in the game and Memphis kept Sacramento at bay throughout the night.
It’s only appropriate that this report card will be focused on giving the proper love to the guys who deserve more love than they are given. After all, it was Valentine’s Day, the day of love.
The big man from Lithuania has been the best player on the Memphis Grizzlies since his return to play from COVID. Jonas continues to be a guaranteed double-double and creeping up on being a 20-10 guy. He is a steadying force that gives the offense someone reliable to dump it down to when things aren't going well. In today’s “spread ‘em out” NBA, he is often a mismatch on the block as well. He brings that little bit of Grit for this next generation of Grizzlies basketball and is a top 30 PER player in the entire league.
For those of you seeking to trade him because they roster Gorgui Dieng and Xavier Tillman, your apologies will be accepted. To those who disrespected him in the preseason, not naming him a top 100 player in the league; your ignorance shall be forgiven. Jonas was awesome again in Sacramento leading him to an easy A.
If you read Grizzly Bear Blues at all, you know there is faction of Grayson Allen believers. We have known all along that Grayson can play some basketball. Take away his controversial past at Duke, and he would probably have a little bit more respect. Put him on the Lakers as a scorer off the bench and his cult following would be larger than Alex Caruso’s. It just so happens he plays for an often overlooked Memphis franchise, so he is likewise, overlooked.
Grayson was tasked with guarding Buddy Hield tonight, a guy who can nuclear on any given night. Buddy had 8 points on 20% shooting. The lack of respect from fans towards Grayson’s defense is 100% unwarranted. He’s not just a spot-up shooter whose job is to sit in the corner and wait for a dime from Ja. No, he can handle the ball, score off the dribble, defend his position and knock down multiple threes a night with efficiency.
Allen has earned your love. Don’t be caught on the outside looking in when he continues to produce for this team. GRADE A-
I am the biggest anti-Dillon Brooks person there is, and he does himself no favors. Twenty shots is something I will never be ok with, but he did shoot 50% from the field, only the 7th time since his contract extension. Even on a night that was “Good DB”, he still managed five fouls and 25% shooting from deep.
Dillon’s 22 points seemed to be a quiet 22, because he did not really take too many shots that were the head-scratchers we have become accustomed to. Maybe his efficiency had to do with his defensive assignment of Harrison Barnes rather than starting him on Hield or De’Aaron Fox. He did guard Fox at times, but not asking DB to chase the other team’s best player all game could do wonders for his efficiency.
As the president of the He Man Dillon Hater’s Club, let me be the first to say, that Dillon still deserves love too. He plays with the same level and intensity every single night, no matter what. There are no nights off for him. Tonight, the trio of Fox, Barnes, and Buddy were held to 39 points combined and he was a big part of that success. He scored 22 points and many of them early to help get the Grizzlies out in front early.
Good Dillon is a great thing for this team. Good Dillon gets a Valentine’s B+.
Memphis had 31 assists on 50 made baskets, good for 3 more than their league leading average of 28 per night. It’s these nights that Memphis has been most successful — spreading the shot select around the entire team and never relying on one guy to bring them home. BALL MOVEMENT GRADE: A
The point guards were the only two players to shoot below 50% on the night but they combined 14 assists to make up for the poor shot making. That’s what makes Ja so special and Tyus Jones so trustworthy. On nights they may not have it themselves, they will still make the right plays for the team to win.
After being robbed by the association in Los Angeles, the young Grizzlies rebounded beautifully and will look to start a new winning streak against Oklahoma City at home.