This was a game where it felt like the Grizzlies were in control, and you look up and the Magic are within striking distance. But, you think there’s no way the Grizzlies are going to drop this one to Orlando. You take a glimpse at the score again, and you realize, the Grizz are about to blow this. And that’s exactly what happened. A Cole Anthony 3-pointer at the buzzer negated Dillon Brooks’ late game heroics.
This was a game where the Grizzlies had no business in losing. The Grizz are a better team. We’ve seen this story play out though; the opponent hangs around and gets enough confidence down the stretch to end up beating the Grizzlies. This game, along with losing to OKC, and the loss to the shorthand Clippers, will come back to haunt them when it comes to the Playoff race.
The Grizz held a 20-point lead with about 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, but it looked as if the team got comfortable and had some bad possessions and a few bad turnovers. Orlando did get to the free throw line to slow it down late in the third, but there’s still no excuse for why the Grizzlies lost this.
Now it’s time to hand out some grades.
Kyle Anderson – 21 points (7-10 shooting, 3-5 3-pt), 4 rebounds, 2 assists – B
The second quarter belonged to Kyle Anderson. He scored 10 of his 21 points in that quarter, and it came all it once, as KA had a 10-0 run to himself. Kyle came out in the third quarter sizzling as well, but as good as Kyle was, he still deferred to being a distributer.
Now, I’m all for Kyle looking for the open man, but when he’s feeling it, I want him to keep shooting. That’s one thing he didn’t do. He did play well for most of the game, and did knock down his free throws, which is something that most of the team can’t say.
Like the rest of the team, Ja had a solid first half. Ja went 5-8, scoring half of his points in the first half; he was 3-10 in the second half. He did hit some big time shots in the second half thought.
The main strike against Ja in this loss is the six turnovers. Sometimes Ja gets sloppy with the ball and tries to do too much. We saw that at times in the loss against Orlando. We love our highlight plays in Memphis, but we love winning more. Ja is always evolving and is wise beyond his years; I’m sure this is a loss he will learn from.
DeAnthony Melton – 7 points (3-10 shooting, 1-5 3-pt), 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks – C+
Melton is in a slump. There’s really no other way to put it right now. He’s scored in double-figures just once in the last six games while shooting 27% (14-52 from the field.) And while Melton is struggling on offense right now, he did pick it up on the defensive end – 3 steals and 3 blocks.
It’s not just Melton who is struggling, depending on the game, it seems as though all of the wings are having trouble getting it going, especially all on the same night. His past few games have shown just how important it to get him going when it comes to the Grizzlies winning.
This loss is frustrating on so many levels. One – they got off to a quick start, which is not always the case. They also did so many things to keep them from winning by missing free throws and turning the ball over way too much. Orlando is looking ahead to the future, while the Grizzlies are trying to make the playoffs. I mentioned in my 5 questions piece that Orlando isn’t looking to win every night, but have no problem playing spoiler, which they did against the Grizz.
Dillon Brooks also spoke on this post game, saying that at times, the players would take plays off. You can’t do that as a young team, because you aren’t good enough to play through mistakes like that.
As far as the rest of the team – Justise has not been good…at…all. His struggles continued, and he just didn’t look confident on offense. Jaren also looks a tad uncomfortable, which is understandable as he is getting used to playing. Also – questionable rotations, and Brandon Clarke got the DNP-CD, which is something to definitely watch over the next few games.
The Grizzlies cannot afford another loss like this, as they continue to battle for the play-in game.
Next Up – Monday night against the Knicks at FedExForum.