Just another day at the office.
The Grizzlies did what good teams should do — impose their will and blow out inferior teams. It was quite the performance in front of a rockin’ sold-out FedExForum crowd.
It took a minute though for the party to start. I was slightly confused at the two teams I was watching in the first quarter. The Magic, one of the worst shooting 3-point teams in the league, was drilling everything from downtown. The Grizzlies on the otherhand, the best in the league at scoring in the paint, had zero points in the paint until a Brandon Clarke dunk with a little more than two minutes left in the first quarter.
Things really started rolling at the beginning of the second quarter when the bench unit was in. Tyus Jones, Kyle Anderson, and Brandon Clarke led the charge that helped the Grizzlies pull in front for good and coast to a 28 point dub.
The win was a nice team effort, but I am going to hand out grades to a few of the standout performances.
Desmond Bane — 24 points (10-15 FG, 3-6 3PT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists — A
A nice night for Desmond Bane to break his slump. We did see glimpses of it in the second half against Boston, but it was a full-on break out in the win over Orlando.
It was also nice to see Bane look comfortable out there. You can tell when he releases the ball that he always thinks its going in, even when he was in the three and a half game slump. But, you could also see frustration set in at times when those shots weren’t falling.
With the ‘Bane Train’ back on its tracks, the Grizzlies are that much more dangerous as they head into the stretch run.
Jaren Jackson Jr — 13 points (2-11 FG, 0-3 3PT 9-11 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 blocks — B-
Triple J was once again a force on the defensive end, blocking three shots, a couple of them were monster rejections. The Grizzlies were feeling it at the beginning of the second quarter and when Jaren Jackson blocked Mo Wagner, it felt like a statement block where there was no way Orlando was going to find their way back into the game.
I also liked the fact that Jaren was able to get to the free throw line 11 times — I know a few were on a missed three, but he was also getting fouled down low.
While it’s true that Jaren did struggle on the offensive end, I’m find with that if he is delivering on defense, and he did just that. If other guys like Bane and the bench are able to help Ja out with the offense, by all means let Jaren be that tone setter on the defensive end and let him hang his hat on that.
Tyus Jones — 14 points (5-9 FG, 3-5 3PT), 2 assists, 1 rebound — A
Tyus came in to spell Ja in the first quarter and provided an immediate spark. He and Kyle Anderson both. Tyus knocked down a three to end the first quarter and the Grizzlies didn’t look back.
Throughout the game, members of the bench untit provided little sparks of instant offense — Kyle Anderson, DeAnthony Melton, Brandon Clarke, and Tyus all finished with at least nine points.
The grade for Tyus is mainly credited to how quickly the game turned when he entered the game at the end of the first — the Grizzlies looked like they were still feeling the effects of the Boston loss, but then started to click on all cylinders.
Final Grade: A-
I don’t know, but maybe I am already spoiled by this team and Ja Morant. It was a 28 point thrashing of a bad team. Don’t get me wrong, it is impressive to beat a team like that, but it didn’t necessarily feel like it’s going to be one of those games remembered at the end of the season. It was a very business-like win and one of those games where they don’t HAVE to win, but can’t afford to lose.
Ja was great as usual, going to 25 points, including three from deep. The Memphis Grizzlies just moved past the Warriors into second place in the Western Conference and Dillon Brooks should be returning soon. Things continue to look up for the Grizz.
Next Up: Tonight in Houston — Tip Time 6 PM