No one ever looks forward to a test. It has a huge impact on your grade and it is coupled with anxiety and pressure. This would be a test that the Memphis Grizzlies would be looking forward to. Its Ja v. Zion. Jonas Valanciunas and Grayson Allen were returning to the rotation. Its the beginning of a budding rivalry.
Sadly, the team as a whole failed. While there were some positives to take away for some players, this was another game that the team got away from what had been working on the seven game win streak. So let’s grade this out.
PUT SOME RESPECT ON HIS NAME. For everyone looking to ship JV out because of Xavier Tillman’s solid play and Dieng’s great fill in, this should silence that. 23 points and 7 rebounds on 82% shooting to lead the Grizzlies. His seven rebounds are even more impressive considering he was matched up against an elite rebounder in Steven Adams, holding him to just two rebounds. Jonas is a vital part of this team’s success with his rebounding and efficient paint scoring.
JV returns with an A+
Kyle is another player that has earned more respect than Grizzlies fans have given him over the years. He has been a consistent settling force in the starting lineup that should remain there even once Justise Winslow returns. Kyle was tasked with guarding Brandon Ingram last night and managed 21 points 4 rebounds 4 assists 2 blocks and a steal on 62% shooting. Another instance where the box +/- does not tell the whole story as he was a -6.
Despite the negative rating, Kyle nets an A.
What else is there to say? It’s as if having a good game like he did against Indiana means he now has the clearance to revert to “chuck-it-up” Dillon Brooks. He did not have the excuse tonight that has constantly been made for him: Kyle Anderson took the other team’s best wing player and yet Dillon got shredded on the defensive end by Lonzo Ball while jacking 17 shots for 9 points on 24% shooting. Some of this falls on Taylor Jenkins. During the seven game winning streak, Dillon’s minutes were closer to 20 and shot attempts around 12. Playing him 28 minutes they way he was playing makes no sense when your wing rotation is at full health.
If there was a grade lower, he would receive it, but Dillon registers yet another F.
Ja Morant- Ja is clearly struggling and this team goes as he goes. 12 has to find his groove again and quickly. He must learn to adjust to the attention is going to receive on a nightly basis and rise above it. GRADE: D
Xavier Tillman- X led the team in rebounding, but the three shots beyond the arc seems to be a little more than what this offensive system wants to create for a player of his skill set. Yes, at the power forward BC and Jaren Jackson Jr are going to let it fly, but personnel changes calls for some tweaks in the offense as well. The rookie continues to give solid minutes for Memphis. GRADE: C
NBA Referees - This was one of the worst officiated games the Grizz have been a part of. The no call on Ja Morant almost being beheaded plus the no call on an obvious goaltending were both so atrocious. One or two calls a game do not typically change the outcome of a game, but these were two huge missed calls. GRADE: F
Taylor Jenkins - Jenkins is quickly proving himself to be on of the best young minds in the game. The second year head coach is still learning, which means he will still have his blunders. Last night’s closing lineup would certainly be considered a blunder. GRADE: C