What a wild season that this 2021-22 NBA Season has been for the Memphis Grizzlies. A collection of incredible memories from a young team that stands together no matter the odds. On Wednesday night, this Grizzlies team added more memories to their yearbook.
On the brink of elimination at FedExForum in Memphis, the Grizzlies came out with the energy of a team that isn’t done. A team that wasn’t just coming out to win “one game.” This young Grizzlies team finally knows their capabilities.
Throwing left and right hooks to the jaw that is the Golden State Warriors. A championship team that is the Warriors that many thought were better than that. The same people that thought that the Grizzlies were done in this series before tonight’s beatdown of the Warriors.
With that being said, Memphis heads back to the Bay for a Game Six against the Warriors on Friday night. Before we look ahead, let’s look back on the Grizzlies 134-95 victory over Golden State.
Grades, shall we?
Jaren Jackson Jr. - 21 points (6/10 FG, 4/6 3PT), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks
GRADE - A+
Consistency has been a huge cloud surrounding Jaren Jackson Jr. in this 2021-22 NBA Playoffs, and with Ja Morant out his presence would be needed. Not only Jaren make his presence know, he showed what he can be moving forward. Jaren not only dropped the first basket of this game, but Jaren played with an ease with little rush throughout Wednesday night’s beatdown.
Jackson Jr., let the offense come to him, while his presence on offense was a huge part of the game plan. Jaren shot the ball well beyond the arc, but the more comfort he gains in the post - his ceiling gets higher and higher. Getting to the free throw line and getting good looks helped him find a rhythm early in the game.
For game six, the game plan shouldn’t change with Jackson’s post touches early in the game. When Jackson Jr. gets involved early, his presence on offense effects winning tremendously.
Desmond Bane - 21 points (6/12 FG, 4/6 3PT)
GRADE - A+
It felt like the Grizzlies game plan to get Jaren Jackson Jr., involved early, also include more pin-down’s and actions to free up Desmond Bane. Bane was sensational last night for the Grizzlies offense. Despite the lower back soreness that Bane has been dealing with, his effort and energy have been there. He looked more like himself.
The Grizzlies were more efficient in transition off of Warriors misses, leading to more clean looks for Bane. Desmond Bane’s game is so effective because he plays wiser than his age (similar to the team as a whole). There is no rush to his offense, and he knows when his offense is on. Bane attacked off the dribble tonight as well, and that felt like something he hadn’t done in this series due to the sore back.
Not sure if the injury is progressing at all (hopefully so), but he didn’t hesitate last night offensively.
Tyus Jones - 21 points (8/12 FG, 4/7 3PT), 9 assists, and 0 turnovers
GRADE - A+
The steady hand in Beale Street Blue. Tyus Jones nickname of “Stones” fits his game. The Grizzlies were rocking on both ends of the floor. Tyus picked his spots well on offense last night for the Grizzlies, and also helped the Grizzlies play with great pace. This allowed the Grizzlies to get open before the Warriors offense could get set, Jones ended up with nine assists in three quarters.
Not only was his passing effective, his confidence to shoot the deep ball was magnificent. With every three that Tyus drills, Golden State has to honor that pick and roll with Steven Adams, which opens the Grizzlies offense up even more.
Lastly, Tyus’ defensive capabilities in terms of rotating, and fighting through screens has been underrated. Is he sought out by Golden State in terms of mismatches at times, yes. Does he take a possession off on defense, no. His motor is at an all-time high, and he has been ready for the moment this season, and now in the Playoffs.
Quick Grades -
Dillon Brooks: B+
The only reason Dillon Brooks doesn’t get an A, is the shot attempts he still trying to take. There is no question about Brooks’ defensive capabilities. However, right now Dillon is effective attacking the rim early in games. Allows himself to find a rhythm. Down the stretch, he fired away. He will be better on offense.
Brandon Clarke: A
Clarke came off the bench with energy that we haven’t seen since the Minnesota Timberwolves series. Brandon didn’t play with the hesitations that we’ve seen on both ends this series. Clarke played freely, and was a huge part of the Grizzlies second quarter run.
It almost felt like Brandon had more than 11 points based on how well he played last night. Clarke snagged five offensive rebounds for the Grizzlies and his return to playing not only confidently but effectively could sway this series.
De’Anthony Melton: B+
“Mr. Do Something” came in following a missed Dillon Brooks layup late in the first quarter, and shot the ball well for the Grizzlies. I think at times Melton over thinks the right plays on offense, but one things for certain, his production is needed. Melt dropped 10 points in 24 minutes of game action.
Team Grade: A+
You were going to learn a lot about this team based on how they performed in Game 5. Win, lose, or draw. The Grizzlies had another growing moment in their year of growing moments that led to a fantastic 56 regular season wins.
Memphis handled the Warriors runs early on, but more importantly the Grizzlies built on their own leads early, and didn’t give anything away. Closing quarters can sway a lot of things in playoff basketball, and Memphis snatched momentum based off of how they closed the first and second quarters.
Now, a trip back to San Francisco for a game six on Friday night.