The Memphis Grizzlies came away with their 40th win of the season, eclipsing that mark before the All-Star Break for the first time in franchise history.
I will say, the game was quite a rollercoaster to get to that win. The Grizzlies started out with an emphatic first half, playing the Memphis basketball we’ve seen over the past several weeks. They were dominating the transition game, and they were smuggling the Hornets on the defense. Then, the second half hit, and the script flipped. The Grizzlies took the foot off the gas a bit, as the offense stalled out, and the defense gave up easier looks. Meanwhile, the Hornets brought their energy to 10 after the break, and they also started hitting shots they were missing.
All in all, the Grizzlies ended up locking in to make winning plays down the stretch to survive the comeback efforts of Charlotte.
A win’s a win. Let’s get to grades.
Ja Morant: 26 points (12-21 shooting from the field, 0-3 from 3, 2-6 from the FT line), 6 assists, 6 rebounds, +/- of -1 in 34 minutes (Grade: A)
Before we start, I’d like to give the cameraman a giant ‘F’ for causing Ja Morant to turn his ankle. Thank the Lord he’s okay.
So, Ja Morant came back in, and he turned it up to help carry the Grizzlies through the storm. He did so by largely doing what he did the entire game — and has done throughout the season. Morant got into the paint at will, and he did so with great pace and downhill navigation. The Charlotte defense didn’t have an answer for it. Even down the stretch, they place the lengthy JT Thor (who, by the way, impacted the heck out of the game with his activity in the 4th quarter) on him. It didn’t matter. He still got to his spot and his floater.
Morant did what All-Stars usually do. When the game’s on the line, and the team’s facing adversity, he took the charge and made big-time plays down the stretch.
Jaren Jackson Jr.: 18 points (5-17 shooting, 4-12 from 3, 4-6 from the FT line), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 1 assist, +/- of -4 in 31 minutes (Grade: B)
Jaren Jackson did some things that I liked from his game. He played with great force on defense by crashing the glass for rebounds and making his presence known as a shot-alterer. He also stretched the floor well too, knocking down 4 triples in the first half too.
However, Jackson’s offense was quite spotty too. He only converted on 1 of his 5 two-point attempts, and you can also argue that a near 2.5-to-1 ratio between 3’s and 2’s isn’t ideal for him either. His inconsistency from 3 came in the form of him rushing shots and not having repeatable mechanics on his jumper too.
Overall, this game was one that showed the great and inconsistent of Jaren Jackson. When he’s on, he’s a dynamic big man that’s a difference-maker as a floor spacer and a rim-protector. However, he’s also still growing and rounding out his game.
Desmond Bane: 25 points (7-13 shooting, 4-7 from 3, 7-7 from the line), 5 assists, 4 steals, 4 rebounds, +/- of -6 in 32 minutes (Grade: A-)
It might feel off to give a player with 7 turnovers a grade this high, and the primary reason for the minus dock here. However, Bane made such an impact in every other aspect of the game.
Bane continued his scoring surge from Thursday night’s game against the Pistons, as he knocked down big 3’s, and he kept pressure on the Hornets with transition. He also moved the ball well as a secondary playmaker, finishing with 5 assists.
More notably, he made a huge impact defensively. The Hornets backcourt had an inefficient night scoring, and you could also count Miles Bridges in that too. Bane played a large part of that with his force in individual defense. He also caused havoc to create defensive plays, finishing with a team-high 4 steals.
This performance was just a shining example of the strides Desmond Bane has made in his overall game.
- Steven Adams (A-): Adams gets a small dock for fouling out in under 20 minutes. However, he was such a force in this game. He finished with 8 offensive rebounds and 11 total boards. He also made great hustle plays to protect the rim defensively. He’s such a key piece to the Grizzlies’ system.
- Brandon Clarke (B): Clarke finished with a team-low +/- of -12, a large product of sharing the floor with other players for the majority of the Charlotte run. During that stretch, he did struggle a bit with the force of Montrezl Harrell in that second half. Offensively, he continued to make a great impact around the rim, finishing with this signature floater and flying through for lobs.
Tune in on Tuesday, as the Memphis Grizzlies travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans.