The Utah Jazz are really freaking good.
From having three All-Stars, one of which is also a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, to the Sixth Man of the Year winner and runner up, the Utah Jazz are loaded for a deep playoff run in a wild Western Conference. As if death by Royce O’Neale threes is not enough, former Grizz franchise cornerstone, Mike Conley sticking daggers in the Grizzlies is the most horrifyingly poetic timeline.
In all reality, the Grizzlies played their asses off — all series, actually. This is really just showing how good Utah is. Memphis is overachieving, playing good to great basketball and still can not manage to eke out a victory.
At times, Grizzly Bear Blues has been accused of rose colored glasses and pushing the narrative by not being so hard on players and coaches, but after the effort this team has put together as a whole, what is there to be critical of outside of nitpicking?
Dillon had an extremely boneheaded sequence followed by a tough call that was not reversed by replay. But does he deserve to be graded poorly outside of that? Absolutely not.
Ja had some painful turnovers down the stretch of the game and did not shoot particularly well, but those are growing pains he gets to experience early, and quite frankly his “worst” performance of the his first playoff series thus far is a near triple double.
Jaren Jackson Jr. looked much better in Game 4, he still has a ways to go, but better nonetheless. His drop coverage on Gobert pick and rolls has been the best defense the Grizz have had against that thus far and his effort on the glass was noticeably better. He knocked down a couple of deep shots while also attacking the basket. Trip needs his breakout game in Game 5 and he may be ready to do just that. Grade B+
The return of Mr. Do Something came when it was needed most. Without the play of De’Anthony Melton in the fourth quarter, this game could have gotten ugly for the Grizzlies. If this not an anomaly, but perhaps a return to peak form, look for Melton to have a huge impact in Game 5. Grade A-
Desmond Bane and Grayson Allen also played solid off the bench while the latter struggled at times defensively on Donavon Mitchell. Role players are supposed to perform at home and you could not ask much more from these two off the bench. Grade B-
Coach Taylor Jenkins is a man who deserves more credit than given and receives more harsh criticism that warranted. Fantastic use of a challenge in the moment because of what was at stake with DB. He shrunk his rotation down to 9, a huge step of progress. It was and odd decision to continue rolling with Grayson over Kyle Anderson to close the game and it may have cost him. Nevertheless, this is as much of a learning experience for he and his staff as it is the players. Grade C+
But give these Grizzlies an A for their heart and their refusal to ever just lay down because they are the 8 seed.
This young Memphis Grizzlies team is going to continue to try and crash the party in the NBA and while it may be the last time at FedEx Forum for the season, the effort this team has played with in their first postseason is worth every A you could ever give in a report card.