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Summer League Game 1 Recap: Lights-out shooting propels Grizzlies to win

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2022 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League - Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The young Memphis Grizzlies started their first game of summer league action in Salt Lake City against the Philadelphia 76ers hot from 3 and active on defense leading to three separate early 10-point leads at 18-8, 28-18, and 33-23 before Philadelphia cut the lead to 6 at 34-28 to end the 1st. First-round pick Jake LaRavia was very impressive to start, hitting two 3s in the 1st period.

Undrafted rookie Kenneth Lofton Jr. started the 2nd quarter with a little razzle-dazzle leading to an and-1 opportunity and followed up with some block work, scoring 5 quick points.

The 3-point barrage continued after the impressive back-to-back possession from the big man leading to the Grizzlies pushing the lead out to as many as 17 twice, 55-38 and 62-45. Dakota Mathias stood out during this stretch with a couple of impressive shots made. However, sloppy play towards the end of the quarter lead to the 76ers cutting the deficit to 62-54 at halftime.

Ziaire Williams looked uncomfortable in the 1st half in an increased ball-handling role. Philadelphia’s defense keyed on him and his struggles were very noticeable. On the other hand, Jake LaRavia finished the 1st half with 10 points on 3-4 shooting from 3. Also, this happened at halftime:

Both teams began the 2nd half even-keeled as both teams had their moments on to a 19-19 tie with the Grizzlies still leading by 8 at 81-73. After extending the lead to 11, turnovers led to the 76ers cutting the lead down to 5, before the Grizzlies slowed it down and answered with a Kenneth Lofton Jr. bucket. Eventually, the 76ers would cut the lead back down to 5 at 88-83 to end the 3rd quarter.

Philadelphia continued to cut the lead down to 2 three times at 91-89, 95-93, and 101-99 in the 4th. Stagnant offense down the stretch led the game to come down to the final possession in which Kennedy Chandler made the game-sealing stop and steal guarding his former AAU teammate and fellow UT alum Jaden Springer to preserve the win for the Grizzlies. Ziaire Williams hit the final 2 free throws with 0.01 seconds left to win 103-99.

The game was your classic “game of runs” with the Grizzlies leading by as many as 17 but Philadelphia fought back to cut the lead to 2 with the ball on the last possession with a chance to win. The Grizzlies finished their first 2022 Summer League game with 5 players scoring in double figures, including the summer league veterans Ziaire Williams, Santi Aldama, Xavier Tillman, and Dakota Mathias. Also, 4 players had at least 2 steals — led by rookie 2nd round pick, Kennedy Chandler, who finished with 4.

Now on to some quick grades:

2022 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League - Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Ziaire Williams - B- (15 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, +3 +/-)

As stated earlier with my halftime analysis, Ziaire struggled early as a primary on-ball offensive player with 3 turnovers in the first half but displayed playmaking ability by finishing with 8 assists and shooting well from 3, hitting 3/6. Ziaire showed resolve to battle through a little bit of adversity.

Jake LaRavia - A (13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover)

The 1st round pick was very impressive in his first NBA action scoring 13 points on 4/7 shooting from 3, while displaying a good to great catch-and-shoot ability and providing solid defense. I am excited to see how he fits into the regular season rotation with that shooting ability.

Santi Aldama - B (13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, +2 +/-)

Santi Aldama looked fairly comfortable in his first action to kick off his sophomore campaign. He was confident in his shot (2-3 from 3) and attacking the paint. Santi has an opportunity to prove his worth and that was a good start.

Xavier Tillman - A- (16 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, +3 +/-)

X looked noticeably bigger, and his impact was felt in the paint throughout the game on both ends. He did what was expected from a 2-year NBA player.

David Roddy - B- (4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers)

David was on the wrong end of all the body jokes on Twitter, but Grizz Nation will love him. He struggled shooting in his debut, but made his impact felt by using his frame to provide a physical force that the Grit ‘n’ Grind Grizzlies would have welcomed with open arms.

Kennedy Chandler - B+ (8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, +10 +/-)

Kennedy Chandler started the game off a little slow with a couple of turnovers but he played the best defense you could ask for. He showed what made him so great at UT by stacking the box score.

Kenneth Lofton Jr. - A- (9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers, +2 +/-)

The highly touted undrafted free agent showed some polish, especially in the post. His footwork was very impressive. I am looking forward to watching him down in Southaven this year.

Vince Williams Jr. - B+ (9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, +1 +/-)

Vince Williams did exactly what he was drafted to do. As Mike Lowry told Marcus Burnett in Bad Boys II: “From now on that’s how you shoot.” 3-4 shooting from 3 showed us what Vince Williams is “gonna” do.

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