Due to thigh soreness, Ja Morant wasn’t available to play in Sunday’s contest against the Utah Jazz.
Fortunately, the Memphis Grizzlies rallied together and emerged victorious, defeating the Lauri Markkanen- led Jazz 113-108. Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones stepped up, with each player posting north of 20 points while Jaren Jackson Jr. added 19.
What’s unique is that Memphis managed to find a way to win despite the Jazz shooting 51 percent from the field. The argument can be made that the defense still needs major improvement, but no one will dispute the results if the Grizzlies continue to win.
Let’s get into some grades from last night’s game.
Desmond Bane- 24 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 8-18 FG, 4-7 3 PT, +/-: -3
When Bane plays like he did last night, the Grizzlies are pretty much unbeatable, or somewhere close to that.
Desmond’s playmaking ability still allowed him to get his points, but he undertook the role of primary distributor with Morant being unavailable. His three-point shot has steadily improved since his return from injury, and hitting 4 of 7 from outside last showed he’s getting back into rhythm.
Considering that I didn’t expect Bane to contribute in all facets of the game like he did, I really don’t have much to knock, and I think performances such as last night’s will start to become the norm.
Jaren Jackson Jr., 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 5 blocks, +/-: -5
Jaren Jackson Jr.’s impact last night was felt beyond the stat sheet. Yes, he did one heck of a job in pretty much every important metric for him, but his presence alone altered the trajectory of numerous shots.
Every game that JJJ plays shows the potential he has if the total package presents itself every night on the court. For him, the key remains staying on the floor, and he did that until around 8 seconds left in the contest.
JJJ hasn’t been shooting the three-ball like before, but that’s contributed to him crashing the glass and collecting more rebounds. Last night, against a solid Utah front line, he really asserted himself in the paint and did a great job.
I think the flow of three-pointers from JJJ may start to come as the season continues, but if he keeps up this level of play, the Grizzlies won’t need it.
Grade-A- (stop fouling out)
Tyus Jones, 21 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, +/- +5
I owe this man an apology, because I have said on multiple occasions that he’s not a starting-caliber NBA point guard.
Tyus proved me wrong last night, and he’s continued to do so in games he’s started this season. The man is a pure floor general that’s also a menace on the defensive end.
Undoubtedly, he’s the best backup point guard in the NBA, and I have nothing more to say. I’ve eaten my words enough on him.