This is March.
There was Oral Roberts over THE Ohio State. Then there was North Texas over Purdue. While the NCAA Tournament is sadly relegated to Indianapolis, the city of Memphis got in on the March Madness.
The Memphis Grizzlies got their reminder that although nobody on the opposing team was an All-Star this season - they’re still NBA players. The Grizzlies faced a Golden State Warriors team without the “Golden Child” Steph Curry last night, and it lead to the exact results long time Grizzlies fans expect. The Grizzlies came out flat and played down to their competition as they trailed by double digits for a majority of the night. Andrew Wiggins lived up to his high school mantra of “Maple Jordan” amassing 27 points and 5 rebounds by halftime. Draymond Green did whatever he wanted but score. Jordan Poole and Damion Lee took advantage of lackluster defense to put up season highs against a team that has prided itself on defense.
The Grizzlies weren’t there mentally or physically as a young team, and it showed as the Warriors handled business without their eccentric, sharpshooting leader — blowing out our beloved Grizzlies in the first half of a back-to-back. The Grizzlies needed this game as the Warriors are amongst the cluster of teams battling for a play-in spot yet they swung and missed on an opportunity served on a silver platter.
Let’s grade some guys.
Grayson Allen - 24 minutes, 6-8 shooting (2-3 3PT), 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, -15 +/-
The limited amount of positive things to say about the starters last night could probably fill a kiddie pool, but the biggest fish in said kiddie pool is Grayson Allen. No starter was perfect, but if there was someone who could say they “thrived” last night, it’s Allen. Grayson Allen was once again aggressive in the first quarter scoring 8 points in the first fueled by his only two threes for the night. The rest of the night he made a living as a slasher in the lineups, using his off-ball movement to finding his way into the gaps in the Warriors defensive coverages to get to the basket.
Considering how efficient he was, it would have been nice to get Allen some more shots but it was not meant to be as the Grizzlies guard’s efficient night - while helpful - was not enough to overcome the variety of other issues on the floor on both ends for the Grizzlies squad.
Brandon Clarke - 22 minutes, 5-9 shooting, 13 points, 4 rebounds -8 +/-
Brandon Clarke has had more impactful nights where he fills up the stat sheet, but tonight it was more about energy and vibes. He had 13 points and has been reminiscent of the Clarke Grizzlies fans fell in love with last season as of late. Last night, it was apparent when Clarke was on the floor as he injected some semblance of energy to the floor with his movement albeit with fewer highlight plays than fans have grown accustomed to. On a night where most people were flat, for whatever reason, and later became frustrated as they trailed a team they should be capable of beating Clarke brought the energy and for that I commend him.
There really isn’t much more to add. Andrew Wiggins dropped 40. The Memphis Grizzlies came out with ZERO energy, played down to their competition and turned the ball over 21 times. With or without Steph Curry, you’re not beating the Golden State Warriors or anyone in the NBA that way. With the play-in still in mind, the game tomorrow is even more important for momentum and future playoff aspects. The real Memphis Grizzlies have to show up or they’ll give away another. This is March after all.
GRIZZLIES GRADE - D