An opportunity blown, once again...
An opportunity to sit a game back of the Dallas Mavericks for seventh in the Western Conference, and two and a half games of sixth as the Portland Trail Blazers fell to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night as well. All the Memphis Grizzlies had to do was take down a very short-handed Los Angeles Clippers team that would not feature Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
The Grizzlies came out of the gates strong with the return of Jaren Jackson Jr., to Grizzlies the lineup. Following a strong first quarter, the Grizzlies would give the short handed Clippers life. Memphis led by 18 at one point, but would blow that lead in three quarters and fall to the Clippers 117-105.
Time to hand out some grades...
Ja Morant - 31 minutes, 22 points, 9/15 shooting, 4/6 3PT shooting, 4 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Ja Morant was the only consistent thing that the Grizzlies had going for them on Wednesday night, and that wasn’t good. Morant came out of the gates attacking on the offensive end of the floor, but that would only do so much.
Morant seemed to be searching for any kind of help on the offensive end outside of himself, but just couldn’t start anything for Memphis coming down the stretch. Everyone’s energy looked low coming down the stretch of Wednesday night’s game, and Morant was no exception as he is the leader of this club.
Head down, in shock, and just not ready for what hit them in the second half at Staples Center, Morant looked lost in the second half. Not singling out Ja (the whole squad looked this way), but when you’re the leader of a team trying to move up in the standings, your actions are amplified. Morant had a decent night statistically, but decent isn’t enough on a night like that. GRADE: C-
Jaren Jackson Jr. - 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4/11 shooting, 4 blocks in 18 minutes
It was so exciting to see Jaren Jackson Jr., back on the NBA hardwood after nine months away rehabbing a meniscus tear in his left knee. Jackson played really well in his return to the hardwood on Wednesday night of the bench, and did his job in limited minutes for Memphis.
Rumor is that Jaren has grown, and he even played majority of his minutes off the bench at the five position for the Grizzlies in their loss to the Clippers. Jaren looked extremely comfortable for a guy that hasn’t played in nine months, and moved like normal - which is very good for Jaren. GRADE - B-
The Grizzlies travel to Portland to take on Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers twice in the coming days. That series tips off Friday night at the Moda Center as the Grizzlies look to rebound from two tough losses.