The Memphis Grizzlies wrapped up a three-game road trip with a 135-115 thrashing of the Orlando Magic. That means the Grizzlies will return home with a 2-1 record on the trip, where they had a chance to make that 3-0.
The Grizzlies opponent Saturday evening was the Orlando Magic. While Orlando hasn’t been really good this season, the game was anything but a gimme. You may remember the Grizzlies lost an important one last year down the stretch and hadn’t won in Orlando in six years. It was nice to watch them just dominate from the opening tip all the way to the final horn.
This performance in the 135-115 win shows that while they may be one of the youngest teams in the league, they seem to be growing up right before our eyes. This is another one of those type of games where teams could easily overlook — an early Saturday tip against a bottom of the conference team. Instead of overlooking Orlando, they dismissed them rather easily and did it in impressive fashion.
Now, while the entire performance may not win any awards, they did earn themselves a few grades.
Let’s get to the report card.
Ja Morant — 33 points (14-21 FG, 1-3 3 PT), 7 assists, 5 rebounds. Grade: A
After scoring just 23 points in the Grizz win over New York on Wednesday, Ja surpassed the 30 point mark once again. He has now scored at least 30 points in 8 of the Grizzlies last nine games and sits 5th in the league in scoring.
What may be the most impressive thing about that, is that he did all of his damage in the first three quarters of the game.
“12” is once against establishing himself as one of the best players in the league. Everything looked easy for him. He was getting to the bucket whenever he wanted — 24 of his points came in the paint where he went 12 of 17 — Ja is the NBA’s leader in points in the paint per game with 16.
Steven Adams — 12 points (6-6 FG), 11 rebounds, 8 assists. Grade: A+
Go ahead and roll your eyes — I’ve given out two ‘A’ grades after the Grizzlies handled a team they should’ve had no problem with. But...I feel like Ja and Steven Adams both earned them.
The comfortability that Adams is showing in this Grizz offense should make other teams really worry what the ceiling of this Grizzlies team can be this season. Adams is basically running a point center and getting everyone else involved. I mean, let’s get real, nobody is going to confuse Adams for Nikola Jokic, but Adams’ ability as a passing big man just adds another wrinkle to this Grizz offense and makes them that much tougher to game plan against.
Adams also continues to be a menace on the offensive glass.
Jaren Jackson Jr. — 21 points (8-19 FG, 1-9 3 PT), 6 rebounds, 1 block. Grade: C
This game was one where it felt like ‘Trip’ took a step back. He reverted back to his early season form where he wasn’t trying to work it down low as much. While Orlando does have a decent presence in the paint with Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter, there was no reason why Jaren shouldn’t have just banged down low and tried to get them into foul trouble.
Some of the shots Jaren took while the Grizzlies were up nearly 30 points, but they were just bad shots. He took some 3’s very early in the shot clock and at times felt like he was trying to prove a point after not being named to the All-Star team. Hopefully this is just an outlier and not an indication of what’s to come for JJJ.
Overall Grade: B+
The Grizzlies overal played very well. They got some nice performances off the bench from DeAnthony Melton (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Brandon Clarke (10 points, 8 rebounds. Desmond Bane once again struggling though, he finished with just 7 points and is now 7 of 30 in the last two games. We saw this earlier in the season, and he is just in a funk — I expect him to shoot out of it on Tuesday against the Clippers.
And finally, I think it’s worth noting that Ziaire Williams continues to impress. He just fits with this team so well and has made Coach Taylor Jenkins look smart for sticking with him in the starting lineup while Dillon Brooks continues to recover from his injury.
Up Next: Tuesday night vs. Los Angeles Clippers at FedExForum