Memphis is creating a lot of enemies around the league lately. They’re the second youngest team in the NBA & they don’t know their place in the pecking order. They’re the new guy bumping people in line as they walk by to skip to the front. They’re relentless, fast, smart, & disciplined through it all. And the league is talking with NBA executives stating our Memphis Grizzlies talk more “ish” than any team in the league.
Well get me the DeWayne Wade gif, because I love it!
The first half was a tight game of sorts until the Grizzlies inched out a double-digit lead by halftime. By then Jaren Jackson was steam rolling as a two-way star. Desmond Bane is furthering his push for his first All-Star selection. Ja Morant already had several SportsCenter, highlights but so did several other Grizzlies. Virtually every guy in the rotation displayed flashes of brilliance.
Memphis did a great job slowing down the Lakers, who have been the top fast break team in the NBA since starting LeBron James at center. They also were yet to lose a game with LeBron at center as they came into this game undefeated after the switch.
Even Konchar returned from injury and gave us several exciting plays, including a nice dunk in the second period. Ja caught a ridiculous lob from Desmond Bane on a fast break alley oop. Jaren mixed it up with some inside scoring where he is beginning to show improvement as of late.
By the end of the 3rd quarter, the Grizzlies were up nearly 30 points. The Grizzlies have 30 assists by the early stages of the fourth period were underway.
In the end LeBron James clearly wanted to win this game but simply didn’t have enough help with his 39 points 9 rebounds & 7 assists. In he was the only Laker starter to hit double digits as Vogel held the starters out the fourth quarter. So it is Memphis who hands LeBron his first loss as a starting center in LA.
“12”: 31:25 minutes/ 16 points/ 5 rebounds/ 7 assists/ 1 steal/ 1 CRAZY block/ +20 +/-
Ja Morant is just on another planet right now & his play is so dominant it’s beginning to create awkward moments for opposing teams. Moments where you can tell even the league’s biggest superstars are looking back after Ja finishes plays. They’re looking back as if they are staring the next era of the NBA right in the eyes & it’s wake up call for us all.
If he isn’t catching alley-oops in transition, he’s activating his takedown badge by volleyball blocking shots off the back board. Like the entire team, all game Morant was out for vengeance on both ends of the floor.
There was a moment at the 8:02 minute mark where Ja goes to the rim for a shot attempt & is fouled. As he’s on his way down from the shot attempt and met by his teammates, I noticed LeBron James Star-watching Ja Morant as if he was the guy on his rookie deal. LeBron had to catch himself & snap out of starting at him! He also had what was arguably an even better highlight dunk on another fast break. It’s insane at this point. He didn’t score many points or even get close to his scoring average with only 17 points, but he didn’t have to. Reason being is he sat a while when Memphis was up nearly 30 points in the 4th quarter. Grand opening, grand closing for “12”
DESMOND BANE: 25:41 minutes/23 points/ 4 rebounds/ 3 assists/ 3 steals/ +13 +/-
Bane did his thang as usual. When he was fed passes on kick-outs to him outside, he knocked them down constantly. He made plays off the dribble and kept the Lakers guards in check. Bane didn’t let them use their smaller lineups to get fast break buckets. He made the Lakers look silly defensively on the perimeter & played very solid defense keeping the Lakers from gaining any confidence outside.
ZIAIRE WILLIAMS: 27:06 minutes/ 9 points/ 2 rebounds/ 3 assists/ 1 steal/ +4 +/-
Ziaire keeps getting better and proving many people wrong who assumed his inefficiency in a COVID season at USC was the trajectory of his NBA career. Ziaire finished with nine points. However, he’s becoming a consistent near-double digit scorer as of late and that is a nice step in his development. He’s far more aggressive & so much more confident that when he shoots, I’m starting to automatically assume it’s going in. He is giving us some strong flashes of a super long freaky shot creator. Just stay the course young fella.
“Slo Mo” was a lot better than “No Mo” & that’s fasho! Kyle was the player of the game as he nearly had a triple double.
Kyle was the engine that got Memphis going early on along with the stars Jaren Bane & Ja. Kyle looked to make excellent plays, gave us great defense & made plays to feed his teammates. He looked like a top notch glue guy.
JAREN JACKSON JR: 29 minutes/ 21 points/ 12 rebounds/ 6 BLOCKS/ +22 +/-
The mane had SIX blocks!!!
“Trip” continues to evolve into such an immensely gifted two-way big man. Jaren knocked down shots from deep. He made excellent moves in the post. He took his time & thus took advantage of his size on the much smaller Lakers starting lineup.
Jaren was a complete two-way superstar. If he produces on both ends like this every night, we can bank on him eventually being an All-Star sooner than later. He got a double double with the game high for rebounds. He also finished with the game high +/- (+22) in a win.
John Konchar: 21:30 minutes/ 12 points/ 4 rebounds/ 1 assist/ -2 +/-
“Jitty” looked pretty good in his return after missing several games. His shot was rolling as he knocked down all three of his attempts with the burner from deep. He hustled to make plays that resulted in rebounds & even had a highlight dunk. He got lost in rotations & caught sagging a few times defensively. That said, he wasn’t too bad to cost the game though he was apart of the lineup that gave up a huge Memphis lead late. I’ll take Jitty’s performance tonight so, Let’s get Jitty in the City!
Brandon Clarke: 16 minutes/ 14 points/ 3 rebounds 1 assist/ 1 steal/ +8 +/-
“BC” had another damn good game on both ends of the floor. He made every second of his time hurt the Lakers severely as he nearly scored a point every minute of his 16 played. He was highly active defensively as he was in great positioning every possession & used it to wreck havoc inside fro the Lakers this evening. I wish Brandon will one day start shooting his three-point attempts without any conscious as he missed all of his attempts from outside the paint.
Making those jump shots would force defenses to play him more honest & thus unlock his ultra versatility. Until then, Memphis will gladly take his excellent performance.
Rest of the guys: Tyus made some nice plays & knocked down some crucial shots when needed. He got guys their shots & even though he was the floor general when the Lakers made that run, Tyus had an overall solid game as he looked to get his guys going & control the game to his team’s benefit.
Xavier Tillman returned to action and offered some decent plays but was mostly a liability in his limited action. Tillman gave up several buckets at the rim in the 4th quarter. It wasn’t all his fault. Guys got beat as the Lakers bench played thirsty. However Xavier didn’t help matters defensively as he got called for fouls often when he got met at the rim trying to help.
COACHING: BRAD JONES
With Taylor Jenkins now in Health and Safety Protocols, Brad makes another appearance as acting head coach in his absence. Brad kept a deep rotation trusting his bench guys early to come in & offer different looks to a Lakers team looking to beat Memphis as they recently lost to Memphis in a heart breaker on Beale St. This was also another back to back game & it was on the road. Many teams would be rightfully tired & out of wack. Considering Memphis came in on a eight game winning streak, I figured it was very possible if not expected they would drop this game. I mean the Lakers clearly needed it more than Memphis did, especially on their home court. However, #NxtGenGrz doesn’t know their place & they came to fight.
They also came to make Brad Jones look good, and that they did. The Grizzlies dominated the Lakers and were up nearly 30 points in the second half. Brad kept his team up throughout the second half & even when The Lakers bench made the late run, his young group never seemed to lose their cool. They just walked it down & sealed the deal late to extend the winning streak to nine in a row!