Grizzlies Take Care Of Business, Down Struggling Wizards

Memphis controlled the pace of play for most of the game and capitalized on Washington’s lack of front court options with Markieff Morris unable to play due to injury. Several Memphis players had breakout games and the final score of 95-107 reflected the style of play that the Grizzlies have re-dedicated themselves to playing.

What Happened

Once again, Jaren Jackson Jr. (4p/3r) struggled to stay out of foul trouble. Over the entirety of the game, he only played 10 minutes, which forced Bickerstaff to play Marc Gasol (19p/5r/6a) a team leading 36 minutes in this matchup vs a very shallow Wizards team.

The bright side of JJJ’s absence was the fact that it opened the door for second year player Ivan Rabb, who made the most of his time on the court with 8 points and 3 rebounds in nearly 12 minutes of play. Rabb looked confused at times on the court, but I think that he has the potential to be a solid backup big man in situations like this.

Memphis shot terrible from the field in the first half at 38%/28%, but they put it together in the second half with excellent ball movement, which led to better perimeter and low post shots. They finished the game shooting 48%/46% with 13 made three pointers.

The Memphis lead fluctuated throughout the game, reach heights of as much as 19 halfway through the third quarter. Bradley Beal (17p/7a) played 40 minutes in the contest and showed his All-Star abilities by taking over several times. Give Memphis and the coaching staff credit though, because Bickerstaff called momentum stopping timeouts in all the right places and the Grizzlies responded well out of those timeouts, usually scoring a bucket or two immediately.

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For the Grizzlies, this was a productive team game with 3 scorers at or near 20 points (Gasol-19, Temple-20, Conley-19) in addition to Shelvin Mack and his 14 points. With Jaren on the bench in foul trouble, Bickerstaff chose to play guard heavy with Mack getting 29 minutes of run, much of it alongside Mike Conley. If there is one thing I enjoy outside of Mike and Marc pick and rolls, it is off-ball Mike Conley. The ability for him to step out to the wing and then drive off the secondary pass really opens the floor for guys like Dillon Brooks (7p/3st) and Garrett Temple to hit open wing or corner threes.

In the fourth quarter, the defense set the tone for the offense as Dillon Brooks played several possessions of lock down-defense on John Wall (22p/7a/9to) that resulted in buckets on the other end. Even though there was a scare when Washington got to within 4 with 7 minutes remaining, Memphis stayed tough and wore down a fatigued Wizards team to close out the game winning the third straight quarter. If Memphis maintains the stingy defense that they have showcased so far this season, then there is a chance that we could see many more nights with frustrated superstars on the opposing rosters.

Key Takeaways

Last night was the first game this season where I walked away feeling like I had learned something about this team. Sure, we have witnessed five previous games including a gutsy win over Utah on the road. However, last night everyone on the roster seemed to fall in to their respective roles on the way to another hard fought victory.

The Grizzlies, led by Marc Gasol, owned the paint on offense, scoring 44 points to Washington’s 30 in the blue area.

I felt like last night was Omri Casspi‘s best game in a Grizz uniform so far. He was disruptive on defense, shot 50% from the field and scored 8 points in only 14 minutes of play. He stepped in beautifully when the team needed him.

Kyle Anderson! I was very shocked to realize he only had 5 points. He was very active on defense and ended the game with 4 steals, 11 rebounds, and a positive +/- of 10. Anderson is still hesitant to pull the trigger on some shots on the perimeter but he was a masterful role player last night.

The big guys took over when needed. In the fourth quarter, Mike and Marc played their patented two man game and it opened up the floor for everyone else. For Memphis to win, their play has to be firing on all cylinders.

Blue Note Bourbon Player of the Game

Though he was quieter towards the end of the game, Garrett Temple did plenty of damage to help set the tone on offense and defense as he scored 20 points, snagged 7 rebounds and shot 4/7 from deep. Temple is panning out to be the perfect addition to the Mike and Marc core, a guy that the Grizzlies have been lacking in recent years.

Next Man Up

Friday, November 2nd @ Utah Jazz


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