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Report Card: Grizzlies Bench and Big Man Blast the Rockets

Valanciunas, Melton and Bane shine bright

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Memphis Grizzlies v Houston Rockets Photo by Troy Fields/NBAE via Getty Images

You remember that course in school that you signed up for thinking it was going to be a breeze. It was Health or Family Dynamics in high school or Coaching Team Sports in college. Then, you show up and read the syllabus and get through the first few weeks in class and you’ve got a C or worse, you're failing.

The game against the Houston Rocket is that class. On paper, without Eric Gordon, Christian Wood, and Victor Oladipo (traded), the Grizzlies were the far superior team. Memphis, however, did not play like it, continuing their trend of horrendously slow starts — miraculously only being down 4 after the first quarter.

A loss against this future Cade Cunningham suitor would have immediately resulted in a failing grade — the group project kind where everyone fails, even the one kid who did all the hard work.

Memphis Grizzlies v Houston Rockets Photo by Troy Fields/NBAE via Getty Images

Jonas Valanciunas - 30 points and 15 rebounds A-

The Grizzlies’ big man has no time for your slander. Sure he is a defensive liability in almost every matchup, but I see your porous pick and roll defense and raise you 15 rebounds and 30 points on 72% shooting. A definite mismatch for any Rockets defender, Memphis did well to feed the big man early and often. JV has tied Pau Gasol for the franchise record with the most 30/15 performances with 5.

Memphis Grizzlies v Houston Rockets Photo by Troy Fields/NBAE via Getty Images

De’Anthony Melton - 23 points 4 rebounds 2 steals A++

He is THE best wing player on this roster. It is an absolute shame it took an unfortunate injury to Grayson Allen for Melton to get the minutes he deserved. While Memphis struggled to put away the pesky Rockets, Melton scored 13 straight for the Grizz to end the third quarter. He went 4-7 from deep and 5-6 from the free throw line, as he continues to prove consistent with his shooting ability. Melton’s 23 was the highest point total off the bench for a player this season and one off his career high of 24.

Memphis Grizzlies v Houston Rockets Photo by Troy Fields/NBAE via Getty Images

Desmond Bane - 17 points 4 rebounds 3 assists A+

These Grizz wings are never going to make it easy on the coaching staff to decide who deserves to be in the rotation. It seemed as if Bane had hit the rookie wall of late, but he was cleared for relaunch against Houston. The rookie showed off in a variety of ways with his scoring including 60% from deep and 70% overall from the field. If Grayson misses extended time, Bane will look to build upon this performance.

Quick Hitters

  • The defensive duo of Kyle Anderson and Jonas Valanciunas was putrid tonight — allowing 49 points to Kelly Olynk and JeSean Tate. The Grizz need to clean up the defense before their tough stretch upcoming.
  • Dillon Brooks shot 33% from the field and 25% from deep, but it was another solid game from the polarizing wing. He sought shots that were in his sweet spot and rarely faded away or forced a shot. His poor percentages were not easily noticed due to his energy and defense. Outside of a couple of bonehead fouls, Dillon continues to build some positive momentum heading forward.
  • Ja Morant is a wizard.

The Grizz take care of business against a team they should beat, so the group gets an A.

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