Game 2 in Utah didn’t go quite as well as Game 1 went, as the Jazz ran away with a blowout win in Donovan Mitchell’s return to the Jazz lineup. The Jazz took an early lead thanks to some hot three-point shooting and the Grizzlies struggled to keep up with Dillon Brooks, Jonas Valanciunas, and Jaren Jackson Jr. in foul trouble the entire first half.
The 3rd quarter was vastly different, as the Grizzlies cut the Jazz lead down to 6 heading into the final frame. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the whistle tightened back up as the game got close as the Jazz jumped out to a double digit lead in the 4th and finished with the 141-129 victory.
The loss is a bummer, but the Grizzlies will still head back to Memphis tied 1-1 in the series with Utah. Now onto the grades from last night’s game.
Ja Morant - 47 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds
Ja set the Grizzlies record for points in a game, regular season or postseason, with his 47 points last night. It was a phenomenal performance by the Grizzlies franchise player as he carried the team all night long, including playing the entire second half. Morant was an efficient 15-26 from the field and dazzled including a highlight alley oop. Morant was the key for the Grizzlies in keeping things competitive against a hungry Jazz squad.
Dillon Brooks - 23 points on 10-14 shooting, 5 fouls
Dillon was Public Enemy #1 for Jazz fans as he was booed nearly every time he touched the ball. Naturally, it fueled Dillon when he was able to stay on the court and out of foul trouble as he finished with an extremely efficient 23 points. Dillon struggled to adjust to the whistle in Game 2 but was pretty dominant offensively to help take a little bit of the offensive load off Ja Morant. The team excels when DB plays well, so they’ll need him to stay out of foul trouble as the series heads to Memphis. For his grade, the offensive production outweighs the foul trouble caused by the tight whistle.
Jonas Valanciunas - 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
The Lithuanian big man struggled with foul trouble in the first half, but was able to respond with a strong second half while only picking up 1 foul in the final 24 minutes. JV struggled a bit defensively in the pick and roll, but it was a problem the whole team had all night long. JV was the victim of a pretty unfortunate whistle last night, including a phantom technical, but Gobert clearly won the big man matchup in last night’s game.
Jaren Jackson Jr. - 16 points, 3 rebounds
It was an up and down game for the Memphis unicorn as Jaren was able to drop 16 points on just 6 shot attempts but struggled rebounding the ball and was inconsistent defensively with some great plays followed by some not so great one. A lot has been discussed about Jaren’s play as he is still trying to get comfortable since being reinserted in the lineup. Tonight wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible.
Kyle Anderson - 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals
Kyle picked up where he left off from Game 1, racking up the steals and playing another solid all-around game. He continues to make winning plays, but just doesn’t have the edge to take over offensively consistently when DB and JV are out. Overall, it was still great to see Kyle not force things as he shot 5-7 from the field in his usual efficient fashion.
Grayson Allen (D) - It was a rough game from Grayson as he didn’t score and shot 0-6 from the field. He had some open looks, the shots didn’t fall but when he isn’t hitting shots he shouldn’t be playing as he was attacked defensively. The only thing saving him from an F was the fact that throughout his stretch in the first half, he seemed like the only Grizzly on the court willing to shoot the ball.
Desmond Bane (B) - Bane continues to show poise as a rookie in these high stakes games. His 5 points on 2-4 shooting won’t stand out on the stat sheet, but he was able to make some key shots in the first half to try and help keep the Grizzlies in the game. He also helped crash the boards with 4 rebounds and flashed his playmaking with 3 assists. Pretty damn good for a rookie.
De’Anthony Melton (D) - Melt’s struggles continued as he scored 7 points, but on just 3-8 shooting, including 1-5 from distance. He forced things a bit and also missed a few open looks. He was a little better defensively, picking up a key block but overall his production just hasn’t been there of late.
Taylor Jenkins (C) - It was a tough grade for Jenkins. He kept JV and Dillon on the bench in the first half as they picked up early fouls, but adjusted and let them play through the struggles in the second half. He actually challenged a foul call on DB in the first half, a foul by definition but a non-basketball move by Ingles, but also meant the Grizzlies had no challenges later in the game which could have come in handy. The foul trouble forced some questionable lineups, but you can’t ignore his hand in keeping this young Grizzlies squad fighting against all odds.
The score is a little misleading as the second half was closer than the final score would indicate, but ultimately the Jazz 3-point shooting was a major factor in their win as they made 19 triples to the Grizzlies 8. The Jazz made more threes last night than the Grizzlies have made in the entire season (15). Ja Morant is magnificent, but the Grizzlies can only do so much with such little 3-point success. They’ll need to create some open looks from distance as the series shifts to Memphis.