A furious fourth quarter comeback and a rocking Grindhouse just wasn’t enough for the Grizzlies to pull out Game 3 of the 7 game series against the Utah Jazz.
The Grizzlies, who looked overmatched in the first half, turned it on in the second halfbut were unable to hold on after taking their first and only lead of the game with 5 minutes to go in the fourth.
Mike Conley went from longtime playoff hero in Memphis to the playoff villain. As the Grizzlies tried to climb back into the game in the fourth, Conley would provide the answer to any Grizz bucket. But when the Grizz finally broke through to take that 109-107 lead, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell scored the game’s next 12 points, before Conley finished things off with a pair of free throws.
Plenty more to talk about, so let’s hand out some grades:
Jonas Valanciunas — 10 points (5-9 from the field, 0-2 3PT), 13 rebounds, 5 assists — C-
The Grizzlies need Jonas to play well in every game this series to have a shot. In Game 3, he only played well for a short time at the start of the third quarter.
JV was a ghost in the first half, providing no impact whatsoever for the Grizz. Memphis was getting dominated on the glass on both ends of the floor, and JV wasn’t going at Gobert like he had been in the previous two games. He is just one of the reasons why the Grizz got off to a slow start and trailed by 12 after one.
I don’t know if it was the fact JV got in to foul trouble early and Game 2 and was kind of feeling things out or what, but it seemed he wasn’t as aggressive as he has been. He also wasn’t switching on time at the perimeter and it allowed the Jazz to get wide-open looks from deep.
Dillon Brooks — 27 points (11-24 from the field, 1-7 3PT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals — B+
Dillon was cooking in the fourth quarter when he picked up his fifth foul early on in the fourth quarter. Luckily, on offense it didn’t really hurt them that much. But, on defense, the Jazz backcourt took advantage.
DB was once again stellar for the Grizz, and I can’t believe I’m saying this but Dillon is almost just as important to stay on the floor as Ja. While it sometimes looks as though Dillon is getting unfairly targeted with the whistle, he doesn’t need to get himself in some of those situations. At least two of his fouls were avoidable, even with playing tight defense.
Grayson Allen — 17 points (6-11 from the field, 5-8 3PT), 3 rebounds, 1 steal — A-
This is the performance Grizzlies fans have been looking for from Grayson since he returned from his most recent injury at the end of the regular season. It came when the Grizz need it most, unfortunately it was in a loss.
Other than some clutch minutes against Golden State, Grayson hasn’t been that good since he’s been coming off the bench. As a whole, the bench hasn’t been anything to write home about either.
If the Grizzlies are hoping to win this series, or at least push it to 6 or 7 games, they have to knock down 3’s or keep the Jazz from hitting theirs. Other than Grayson, the only other Grizz player to make more than one three was Ja Morant.
I’m sure there will be some people still calling for Grayson to not play, or have a tweet saved in the drafts for his next bad performance, but as far as this game goes you can’t really say anything bad about Grayson.
Final Grade — B-
It’s hard to be too harsh on the Grizzlies as they went down by 15 to the league’s best record and fought back to take the lead in the fourth. In saying that, the Grizzlies can’t get off to a slow start against a team that’s knocking down threes like Utah is. We know this team can compete against and beat the Jazz, but it has to be near-perfect. Ja was once again the best player on the floor for the Grizzlies, and he needs more help if he can get it.
We did see a little bit of a mix-up in the rotation, as Brandon Clarke got Xavier TIllman’s minutes. It didn’t really add that much, and the Grizzlies bench will have to provide a spark in Game 4 in order to get the series tied up, heading back to Utah.
Next up for the Memphis Grizzlies: Game 4 on Monday night at 8:30 at FedExForum.