The Memphis Grizzlies began the first of a five-game home stand against my favorite player Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat without Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and John Konchar among the others that were already out. It did not matter as the Grizzlies found a way to pull off the victory 101-93.
The Grizzlies came out the gates quickly jumping out to a 9-3 lead, but the Miami Heat responded with a 3-point shooting clinic as they hit six of their first seven 3-point attempts, including Caleb Martin hitting four of five, to gain the lead by as many as 11 points. You may remember in the game between these teams in the FedEx Forum last year the Heat shot 21/37 from 3.
The Grizzlies turned up the intensity on defense with the rookies coming off the bench forcing turnovers to create transition opportunities to cut the lead to 5 to end the first quarter. They continued that trend into and throughout the 2nd quarter and started making threes themselves to regain the lead at halftime by 7.
Jimmy Butler responded after the half with 7 quick points to help the Heat regain the lead. However, Tyus Jones continued to take the mantle as the leading scorer and led the Grizzles to a 5-point lead to end the 3rd quarter.
The bench unit helped the Grizzlies extend the lead out to 10 to start 4th before the Heat cut it to 5. However, the Heat went cold from 3 the down the stretch and the Grizzlies pulled off the short-handed victory.
Now let’s get into some grades:
Tyus Jones: 28 Points (10-16), 10 Assists, 5 Rebounds, 2 Steals, +8 +/-
Tyus Jones got the start in place of Ja Morant and proceeded to perform a nice acting job as he led the Grizzlies in multiple categories. He started the game shooting 4-5 in 1st quarter and never looked back. When the Heat jumped out to a double-digit lead, he remained in the game with the bench unit that helped the Grizzlies fight back to make it a game in the opening period.
He continued his excellent run in 2nd quarter and led all scorers at the half with 17 points helping the Grizzlies to regain the lead. When the Heat made a run in the 3rd quarter to take the lead, Tyus Jones had an answer and proceeded to score his career-high in points to go along with a double-double to lead the short-handed Grizzlies.
Dillon Brooks: 17 Points (7-22), 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 5 turnovers, -10 +/-
With the others out, Dillon Brooks had arguably the worst game he has had this season. He began the game hitting three of his first four shots to score an early seven points to kickstart the offense but ended the 1st quarter missing his final five shot attempts to go along with 2 turnovers.
His struggles shooting continued throughout the game, especially from three (2-11), along with his turnovers. Dillon resorted back to his extra bad shot-taking and no playmaking days in this one. However, he did play solid defense on Jimmy Butler and others helping force 5 turnovers for him and 16 turnovers overall for the Heat.
Brandon Clarke: 11 Points (5-7), 4 Rebounds, 1 Steal, +10 +/-
Brandon Clarke brought a spark the Grizzlies desperately needed immediately upon first entering the game in the 1st quarter to help them overcome that early double-digit deficit. He scored five quick points and helped in tandem with the rookies to force turnovers and create transition opportunities for the Grizzlies throughout the game.
His energy continued to help propel the Grizzlies to take the lead in the 2nd quarter and to protect the lead in the 4th quarter. Brandon Clarke performed his role well in this game.
Santi Aldama: 18 Points (8-12), 10 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block, +6 +/-
Santi Aldama provided a nice spark in the scoring department with his return to the starting lineup without the resting Jaren Jackson Jr. Everything he did while JJJ was out was back on display in this one. He made timely threes when needed, brought a commanding presence on defense, and rebounded well.
Santi Aldama’s play had fallen off a little bit since returning to the bench, as expected with a lesser role. So it is good to know that he can still step in at any time and give the Grizzlies a little extra when the opportunity is presented.
Kennedy Chandler & David Roddy: 15 Points, 7 Assists, 8 Rebounds, 2 Steals, 3 Blocks, +24
Both Kennedy Chandler and David Roddy had very solid outings without the stars. Kennedy Chandler was especially noticeable in that 1st quarter run that cut the early double-digit deficit. Both players provided much-needed sparks on defense and did not back down.
David Roddy used his body to shield off defenders for rebounds and both players showed great playmaking ability with only one turnover combined between the two. The only thing that could have been better was their 3-point shooting (1-7) but otherwise a promising performance for the young ones.