This is how you stop a two-game skid.
The Grizzlies looked fantastic in their 122-94 thrashing of the Los Angeles Clippers. I know this isn’t a rivalry anymore, but this win felt nearly as sweet as a win over the ‘Flop City’ Clippers. That’s because this is a bonafide title contender and the Grizzlies made them look like a far inferior team. It’s also nice to pick up the first game in a back-to-back, especially when it’s against the same team.
It was good to see the guys comfortable and working in the flow of the offense. Over the past few games, the offense became stagnant and it felt at times that the guys were sleepwalking. But, when the shots are falling like they were Thursday, it makes it easier on everyone.
Now, it’s time to hand out some grades.
Dillon Brooks (19 points, 6-13 shooting from the field, 2 rebounds, 1 steal) – A-
Welcome back DB! Dillon Brooks brought much-needed energy to the Grizz. I, for one, can admit that I underestimated the impact that Brooks has on this team.
Brooks basically closed out the Clippers by himself in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 of his 19 points in the final frame. There was also that two possession sequence, in which a steal by Brooks led to a Winslow flush, and then a strip by Justise that was finished at the other end with a DB three. Those possessions sealed the game for the home team.
I am going to nitpick a little though; prior to his missed games, we saw Dillon filling up the stat sheet in other categories, but not tonight. But, if this is the Dillon we can expect the rest of the season, I’m all for it.
Tyus Jones (20 points, 9-11 shooting from the field, 3 assists, 2 rebounds) – A+
The floater was falling; the jumper was pure; everything was going right for ‘Stones.’ He scored a career-high 20 points in only 15 minutes of play. Jones also became the 10th!! Grizzly to lead the team in scoring this year – they’ve only played 28 games.
Tyus was big in the first quarter as he kept the Grizzlies close, and then in the third, he hit a nice mid-range jumper as it looked like the Clippers might start a run.
Over the last two games it appears that Tyus has emerged from his shooting slump. He’s shot 78% percent from the field after shooting 23% in the 5 games prior.
Jonas Valanciunas (16 points, 7-14 shooting from the field, 15 rebounds, 2 assists) – A
JV racked up his 17th double-double in 23 games before he was halfway through the third quarter. Jonas was like a vacuum, just cleaning up on the boards anytime a shot was missed.
Not only was Jonas a force near the basket, but he also stepped out and knocked down a pair of threes. As he continues to knock down those shots, defenses will have to respect it, which could open up the lanes for Ja.
There were a lot of things to like in the win over the Clippers. Aside from the three players I just graded, Ja is looking even more dangerous in the paint with how good he was using his left hand. Also, Justise looked a thousand times better than he has in his first two games back from injury. The shot selection was better; he stayed active on the boards and on defense; and of course that rip from Kawhi was stuff that dreams are made of.
One thing to look out for though — rotations. As the Grizzlies become healthier, Coach Jenkins is going to have to make some tough decisions. I know it’s just one game, but De’Anthony Melton, Gorgui Dieng, and John Konchar only collected garbage minutes.
Up next, we will see if the Grizz can build on this performance against this same Clippers squad. I don’t think the Grizzlies will be able to coast down the stretch like they did in this win.
Team Grade: A