Finally, the road trip is over, and the Memphis Grizzlies have a fully-healthy time. It’s been a long time coming.
The Grizzlies closed their 7-game road trip with their 2nd trip to Denver in a week. It went as you expected, as they’re playing their 7th game in 11 days while in a different altitude. The energy was a bit low, and the offense looked off. Despite the outcome of tonight’s game, it was a successful business trip for them.
Here are the takeaways from this loss.
A fully-healthy rotation!
Tonight, we got to see a fully-healthy Memphis Grizzlies team all season. Seriously wild to think about. After numerous debates, articles, and podcasts over this question, we finally got an answer.
- Ja Morant - Grayson Allen - Dillon Brooks - Kyle Anderson - Jonas Valanciunas
- Justise Winslow - De’Anthony Melton - Desmond Bane - Brandon Clarke - Jaren Jackson Jr.
Granted, is it final? No. That’s really because we don’t really know how long Jackson would remain off the bench. However, the returns seem solid.
The starters have been starting all season, and they didn’t really showcase anything that they haven’t all season. For the most part, they were pretty solid. The bench was fascinating too, as I love the versatility across the board on both ends. All of these profiles have the archetype to switch and defend in space, while making an offensive impact.
The notable exclusions were Tyus Jones and Xavier Tillman. Jones was an obvious one, as he became a rotation casualty last week, as Jenkins wanted to experiment with Winslow as the de facto backup guard. Tillman has played extraordinary lately, but the clean fit at the moment with Jackson is Clarke.
Ja Morant closes awesome road trip with another standout performance
Prior to tonight’s game, Morant averaged a sensational 24.5 points on 52.0% shooting from the field (46.7% from deep), 7.2 assists, and 6.7 rebounds on this road trip.
Tonight was no different. He was really the only one that really produced offensively tonight, as the team just looked gas.
His 3-point shot wasn’t on, but it didn’t really matter. He kept his foot on the gas pedal once again, ripping off sweet drives to the rim and staying aggressive for his shots. He also continued to pull off some sweet highlight plays.
Morant finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, while shooting 10-15 from the field. If you forgot what Morant could do, he showed you on this road trip.
- Point Justise! Justise Winslow had his best outing as a playmaker this season. He made a series of nice reads in the 2nd quarter, allowing Morant to get a solid breather in the first half. This is going to be something to monitor over the next dozen-ish games, as some of his best basketball has been on ball.
- Two different sides of Brandon Clarke. I’ll start with the good. Brandon Clarke’s defensive activity was off the charts, corralling 3 blocks and 2 steals. However, he continues to struggle as a shot-maker, missing shots he normally misses. They’re going to need his offensive production to pick up in this stretch run, but his activity defensively and as a facilitator was promising tonight.
- Not an ideal night for the 2 guards. De’Anthony Melton, Desmond Bane, and Grayson Allen just didn’t have it tonight. They combined to shoot 5-19 shooting and 2-11 from 3. You’re not winning games that way.
Not the best way to close the road trip, but it was a successful road trip nonetheless. Now, the Grizzlies return home, looking to continue this stretch run towards the playoffs / play-in.