April showers may bring May flowers, but for the Memphis Grizzlies April threes lead to April victories.
The Grizzlies hot shooting streak continued Wednesday night in Atlanta. Wednesday night started slow but evolved into one of the best performances from the Memphis Grizzlies this season - and not to be hyperbolic, but maybe Taylor Jenkins’ tenure as coach. The Grizzlies were once again without a bevy of players going against an Atlanta Hawks team that was also riddled with injuries. The Grizzlies fell behind in a first quarter powered by a 12 point performance from Dillon Brooks. From there it was a total team takeover - different players took a role stepping up to dominate in different ways. The forty three point third quarter nearly elicited an early Hammer, Nail, Coffin from Pete Pranica as the Grizzlies saw blood in the water and pulled away from yet another Eastern Conference foe.
A lot of focus was placed on the frequency and volume of the Grizzlies back to backs in the 2nd half of the Grizzlies schedule, they handled this portion exceptionally. Two wins against two playoff teams in decisive fashion even with injury issues. The next man up mentality at its finest as the Grizzlies are slowly rounding into form for their playoff push.
Let’s re-live some of the fun with some grades.
Grayson Allen - 30 minutes, 10-18 shooting (3-9 3PT), 30 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, +20 +/-
“And I took that personally” - Michael Jordan; Grayson Allen
The last Memphis Grizzlies outing against the Atlanta Hawks ended in off-court theatrics and hilarious Twitter banter. In the rematch, Grayson Allen was phenomenal. While most of his scoring is generally limited to the first and fourth quarters, Allen did all of his work in the second through fourth quarters last night. His 30 point performance was strengthened by an 18 point third quarter that saw him drain three threes. Allen was an impact player while doing the dirty work that won’t show up in the box score defensively as always.
This is the way.
Dillon Brooks - 29 minutes, 6-9 shooting (3-5 3PT), 17 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, +22 +/-
Dillon Brooks’ best stretch of basketball since his rookie season continues as he evolves into the player some always thought he was - a microwave scorer that, when others are making shots, can effect the game in other ways. This has been the case for well over a month now as he has become a more efficient scorer as of late making a living in the mid-range and thriving in catch & shoot situations beyond the arc. You would’ve never known he was nursing an ankle injury from the night before as active as he was on both ends of the floor.
As great as he’s playing offensively, he has kept his patented intensity defensively as he played a major factor in Trae Young’s 6-17 shooting performance as well as engaging in mind games that, alongside Grayson Allen, led to a tech and a free point for the Grizzlies.
Love him. Hate him. Do what you want. Dillon Brooks is hooping and has been one of the better Grizzlies this season - especially this past month plus thanks to performances like last night.
Ja Morant - 31 minutes, 8-13 shooting (2-3 3PT), 19 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, +20 +/-
Ja Morant’s performance last night all but describes the night: Started slow then emphatically turned it on. Much has been Ja’s shooting (or lack thereof), but the pass first point guard joined in on the high scoring bonanza in the ATL as he couldn’t let his teammates have ALL the fun. After a scoreless first quarter and low scoring first half in general, Morant - alongside Allen - came out shooting on all cylinders pouring in 14 points in the 3rd quarter to go with 4 assists in a third quarter that included this ELECTRIC off the back board alley oop from Kyle Anderson.
The takeaway that will fly under the radar due to the dunk was him making two threes and his confidence taking them. Morant is a pass first player. He’s stated as such numerous times. The fact his teammates are all on runs at the same time has made life good for Morant lately. I wouldn’t panic about the shooting or the lingering back injury - instead, focus on how his ability as a playmaker has created open looks for others and his teammates are taking advantage - leading to more looks for Morant. It all works together.
What more can I say?
The Memphis Grizzlies are flexing their muscle right now and playing really good basketball. This report card could have been filled with anyone who played more than five minutes last night because everyone found a way to effect the game positively in their own way. Hopefully, this camaraderie and level of play is sustainable as players return from injury and the playoff push gets more intense down the stretch.
GRIZZLIES GRADE: A