The Grizzlies fell to the New York Knicks last night, falling to .500 on the season after losing their 4th game in 5 tries. The Knicks took control from the opening tip, as the Grizzlies couldn’t cut a 17 point lead down to anything less than 5 points in the contest. Defense fueled the Grizzlies comeback effort, but the offense died down. Then, frustrations took over as Tony Brothers, in typical Tony Brothers fashion, handed out 5 tech’s to the Grizzlies in a matter of seconds resulting in Taylor Jenkins and Ja Morant being ejected from the game.
It was another disappointing effort by the Grizzlies, despite some lineup changes, as they head into the final stretch run of the season. It wasn’t all bad though, so let’s take a look at how the squad graded in the game last night.
Desmond Bane- 22 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals
Bane stepped up big time for the Grizzlies last night with a career high in points and rebounds. After heading into the 4th down 17, he opened the quarter with two triples and was big defensively picking up a few steals sparking the comeback effort. Bane also had a handful of nifty passes that would don’t show up in the box score since the Grizzlies couldn’t buy a bucket last night. The game would have certainly been out of hand a lot more if it weren’t for Bane and his DB counterpart.
Dillon Brooks- 25 points, 2 steals
Dillon was huge in keeping things interesting for the Grizzlies in the 3rd quarter scoring 16 points in the quarter. Brooks made 5 triples in the game, and had to guard multiple positions throughout the night. It wasn’t always pretty with DB, as he picked up a tech late in the game and also had a highly questionable triple on the fast break that will certainly be talked about on Twitter more than his overall production. Still, Dillon kept the Grizzlies in the game in the 3rd, which is something not many on the team can say.
Jaren Jackson Jr.- 15 points, 3 rebounds
It wasn’t a great game from JJJ but it was one of his better games since returning from injury last week. He did most of his damage in the first half, before cooling off in the second, but he looked healthy and was able to shoot 2-4 from beyond the arc in the game in 20 minutes. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was nice to see Jaren find some success on the court.
Ja Morant- 8 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists
It was a pretty brutal game from Ja last night as he scored just 8 points on 2-14 shooting before getting ejected in the final minutes of the game. The numbers weren’t there for Ja, and the Grizzlies as a whole struggled to maintain the pace they like to play at and Ja is usually the leader of that charge. The Grizzlies usually go as Ja goes, and he just didn’t have it last night.
Kyle Anderson (B)- Kyle struggled to find his shot early, but wound up with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists as he made three triples in the second half, helping DB^2 as the Grizzlies clawed back into the game.
Grayson Allen (C)- Grayson’s shooting struggles continued in his first game back from a hand injury as he went 0-5 (0-4 from distance). Grayson usually doesn’t provide much when his shot isn’t falling, but he was able to pick up 5 rebounds and 5 assists which was at least something.
Jonas Valanciunas (C)- JV had another double-double but it still felt like a mostly quiet night from the big man. It wasn’t entirely on JV, but allowing Taj Gibson to tally 12 rebounds (5 offensive) didn’t help the Grizzlies, especially late. JV also struggled a bit defensively, as the Knicks scored at will at the rim at the rim.
Tyus Jones, De’Anthony Melton and Xavier Tillman (D)- The rest of the Grizzlies bench mob really struggled in limited action against the Knicks tonight. The trio played 9 minutes a piece, combining for 8 points on 2-6 shooting from the field. The defense was lacking and they didn’t have their usual efficiency that we’ve come to know and love.
Taylor Jenkins (C)- It was a mixed bag with Taylor Jenkins tonight. He apparently cut the cord on the back-up point guard Justise Winslow experiment but also kept Brandon Clarke, who typically excels with Tyus, out of the lineup. I liked him playing JJJ more at the 4 instead of the 5 which I think led to some of his success. Jenkins also went all in with Ja, Dillon, Kyle and JV in the second half with all but Kyle playing 35 minutes-plus. If the Grizzlies had completed the comeback, things would be different, but it’s easy to question playing the guys heavy minutes with 8 games in 11 nights with the Grizzlies falling short.
It was a frustrating loss for the Grizzlies, who now find themselves as the 9th seed in the Western Conference standings after the Warriors beat up on the Pelicans last night. The Grizzlies will get a night off before the final stretch continues Wednesday against the Timberwolves.