The Memphis Grizzlies lost to the Boston Celtics for the 3rd time in a row and for the 10th time in games that Jayson Tatum has played in, 109-106. Missing starting center Steven Adams, the Grizzlies took a 9-point lead early in the 2nd quarter before Boston went on a 20-0 run to take a double-digit lead and maintained an 11-point lead heading into halftime.
Ja Morant lead a 3rd quarter fury that helped the Grizzlies regain the lead heading into the 4th quarter at 85-84. However, the 4th quarter did not pan out the same as the Grizzlies had no answer for Jayson Tatum and the Celtics regained control and pulled off the road victory. Now let’s get into some grades:
Ja Morant: 30 points (10-24 FG), 9 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, +14 +/-
Ja Morant came out aggressive to start as expected in a superstar matchup against Jayson Tatum and a title contender in the Celtics. After the Celtics made that 20-0 run while he was on the bench, Ja returned to the game to help keep the Grizzlies within striking distance as the game went into halftime.
As the Grizzlies battled back in the 3rd quarter, Ja Morant led the way with 14 points in the quarter to help the Grizzlies regain the lead. However, the play of the team without him on the court to begin the 4th would prove to be too much for Ja to help them overcome to leave with a victory.
Desmond Bane - 19 points (7-15 FG), 5 assists, 5 rebounds, -6 +/-
Desmond Bane had a relatively quiet game compared to his recent performances over the past week. His 3-point shot was off for most of the night but a late 3 extended his streak for multiple 3’s made in a game. The Celtics game-planned for him and did a fairly good job holding him to under his season-average scoring.
Desmond Bane did display his playmaking skills to help the team in other areas outside of his scoring abilities, but the lineups that included him without the likes of Ja or Dillon were negatives. That’s not a slight to Bane, as the change of rotations with Steven Adams out and Brandon Clarke starting changed up quite a bit from the normal lineup configurations.
Dillon Brooks - 13 points (6-17 FG), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, +13 +/-
Dillon Brooks did not shoot well, but his shots continued to consistently come within the flow of the offense. He also affected the game in other areas on the offensive end. Defensively he continued to display the tenacity the team needed from him in a tough matchup against both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown but in typical Dillon fashion foul troubles came back to haunt him as he fouled out with 2 seconds left in the 4th.
Dillon Brooks will need to figure out the foul troubles, as he will continue to guard the opponent’s best perimeter player(s). If he can play within the flow of the offense as he has started to do, then I believe he can work to clean up this part of his game as well.
Brandon Clarke - 10 points (5-8 FG), 8 rebounds, -6 +/-
Brandon Clarke started in place of Steven Adams to mixed results. He provided his typical spark leading to 6 points and 6 rebounds by halftime, but the bench couldn’t replicate that same spark he normally brings to the unit in the frontcourt. Also, playing center off the bench against 2nd string big men is a lot different than starting at that spot against the likes of Al Horford.
Brandon Clarke was relatively quiet in the 2nd half of the game, and this game continued to show why he is a much better fit coming off the bench than starting unless it is next to Jaren Jackson Jr., as Santi Aldama did not help much in the rebounding department or in the form of rim protection.
Overall Team Grade: B
Overall, considering this was this team’s 3rd game in 4 nights and the 2nd night of a back-to-back against a championship contender, the Grizzlies played fairly well. John Konchar and Jake LaRavia provided some timely threes off the bench and were in the positive column when they were on the court. The Celtics are a tough team to face at full strength let alone while missing your starting frontcourt. The Grizzlies have nothing to hang their head about, just rest up and get ready to head back on the road.