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Report Card: Grizzlies dazzle in statement win over the Brooklyn Nets

With a bright stage, the Grizzlies depth shined the brightest

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Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN came to town for an All-Access Day with the Memphis Grizzlies. Unfortunately, All-Star point guard Ja Morant was listed out of the game due to knee soreness.

ESPN came for a show, and they got it...just not in the way they expected.

The Grizzlies used this platform to show how dangerous the team is, and how they’re a force to be reckoned with. On a night where Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were quite spectacular, living up to the generational talent billing they’ve earned, the Grizzlies prevailed and showcased their stellar depth on a bright stage.

It was a big night for the organization, and surely this is just another step in the process for this young squad. Anyways, let’s get to some grades.

Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Desmond Bane: 23 points (8-17 shooting, 6-10 from 3), 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, +/- of +20 in 31 minutes (Grade: A)

First off, congratulations to Desmond Bane for breaking Mike Miller’s single-season franchise record for made 3s in a season. It probably won’t be the last time he breaks this record either.

Bane set a tone in this game with his creation from the jump. He generated a solid perimeter attack, hitting 3s in a variety of ways. He also managed to find his teammates quite well too, tallying 5 assists.

When Ja Morant is out, it’s important to get contributions to make up for it. Desmond Bane has done a great job of filling in for him when Morant is out, and those contributions by committee are a big reason why this team is 15-2 when their star point guard is out of the game. This all is a testament to his growth. He’s expanded the horizons of his 3-point skill beyond just being a catch-and-shoot guy, and he’s also added more elements to his game where he can make the defenses pay as a shooter, driver, and a playmaker. All that overall makes him more of a dynamic offensive weapons — giving the Grizzlies more ways to deploy him, and the defenses more ways in which they need to gameplan for.

With some bright lights, and on a historic night, Bane’s excellence was a bright spot in the Grizzlies win.

Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

De’Anthony Melton: 23 points (8-13 shooting, 6-10 from 3), 4 rebounds, 1 assists, +/- of +16 in 27 minutes (Grade: A)

Again, when the next man up needs to step in, you can count on someone filling in and rise to the occasion.

That guy was De’Anthony Melton.

He came out guns blazing, letting it fly with very little thought into deciding on pulling the trigger or not. He dropped a ruthless poster jam on James Johnson that sent FedExForum into a frenzy early into the game.

Though he wasn’t very active in the rest of the “do something” categories, his scoring was a big asset to the game. And going forward, as this team needs a punch in the halfcourt and perimeter scoring departments, Melton’s production here is going to be paramount — especially as a microwave scorer off the bench.

He may not hit 6 three’s every game, but the threat of him letting it fly and connecting a few a game will go a long way into shifting the defense in the Grizzlies’ favor down this stretch.

Other Grades

  • Brandon Clarke (A-): Brandon Clarke didn’t have a super active 1st half, though they outscored the Nets by 13 with him on the floor then. He transformed that game in the 4th quarter with his energy on both sides of the ball. That sequence when it felt like he grabbed a billion offensive rebounds felt like a tipping point of the game, and he just took advantage of the Nets aggressive switching and lackluster transition defense to get easy opportunities to gather momentum for this team.
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. (B+): Jaren Jackson didn’t have his best offensive game, but his defensive activity in the 4th quarter was instrumental in this game. He did a great job of imposing his will when the guards were funneling the Nets’ perimeter players to him and Clarke, and that showed with his 4 blocks. He showcased his tantalizing defensive potential by shutting down Kyrie Irving on switch assignments. If you needed a good game to add to Jaren Jackson’s resume for Defensive Player of the Year, this performance is a good one in the collection.
  • Dillon Brooks (B): You got the full Dillon Brooks experience in this game. Rock-solid individual defense, but a heap of fouls. Nice doses of shot creation, but head-scratching shot attempts. Diving into his playmaking chops, but committing turnovers as well. Through the experience, he delivered a solid performance that helped set the tone for this team on both sides of the ball.
  • Steven Adams (C): Adams delivered good stats (11 rebounds and 5 assists), though at times it felt like he was neutralized a bit. Facing another imposing rebounder in Andre Drummond, the battle was a bit more difficult for him, and Drummond’s bits of shot-creation in the post was a bit of a problem for Adams. It’s nothing to be concerned about, but just a microcosm of how Drummond’s caused problems for them this season.

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