This continues the Grizzlies habit of playing down to competition. Whether it be the Magic game last week or the Clippers game the week prior, the energy hasn’t been present in the games that should be layups.
In a game sponsored by TNT’s “Who He Play For?” the Grizzlies came out and harvested on the obvious mismatch down low as Valanciunas was an offensive focal point in the first quarter. This would only last a quarter, as the wheels would fall off offensively as it ebbed and flowed throughout the gam. Meanwhile, the Pistons hung around and eventually took the lead. Another theme from the past few weeks continued, as the Grizzlies continued to struggle defensively, as Detroit beat them over the head with dribble-handoff’s early and often to drive an offensive effort that saw the short-handed Pistons shoot 53% from the field.
The Grizzlies lost this game for a variety of reasons but the main reason is the Pistons were simply the better team: physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Let’s do some grades and wipe yet another game from our memory banks.
John Konchar - 19 minutes, 5-6 shooting (1-2 3PT), 11 points, 5 rebounds, -14 +/-
Welcome back to the rotation John Konchar.
It was a good day to be jitty. Konchar was arguably the best player on the floor for the Memphis Grizzlies last night. He was a spark plug on both ends - as is his forte - that outside of a few defensive miscues was a flawless performance. As negative as things have been, Konch brought a bright spot and some flair to an otherwise depressing game. Until the next time we see you Jitty.
Jaren Jackson Jr. - 25 minutes, 4-12 shooting (3-7 3PT), 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 turnover, -14 +/-
As bad as it ended, there were some bright spots to start the game. One of them was the play of Jaren Jackson Jr.
He finished the game 4-12 so obviously it did not last but there was a progression made that started in the Knicks game. Upon Jackson’s return, most of his jump shots looked more like line drives to short stop than actual jumpers. But in the Knicks game, and in the start of last night’s game, the lift returned to the jump shot that had become a lethal weapon last season before his injury.
He’s still figuring it out on both ends but there’s been flashes (looking at you four steals). It wasn’t perfect, nor near the best that we have seen Jackson Jr., but it was one that seems closer to being ready to handle the parameters that come with starting should they choose to go this direction.
There are a lot of excuses that you can put out there about the state of the Grizzlies right now. Some of them might be true.
“They’re a young team!” This is true.
“They’re trying to figure it out with the rotations being altered with Jaren’s return.” Sure.
“They’re fatigued from the schedule.” This is also most likely true.
At the end of the day — as a number of Grizzlies, more specifically Dillon Brooks and Xavier Tillman Sr., have said — they have to be better. It’s “put up or shut up” time as they enter the last week plus of the season. Everyone needs to be better from Taylor Jenkins to Tim Frazier.
Ball is in their court on how this season and play-in finishes, and sadly nights are like this have come far too common.
GRIZZLIES GRADE: D