Today, folks, we had actual Grizzlies basketball. Well, you know what I mean. Even though the game didn’t count, it represented a significant milestone that included Memphis playing basketball on a court against another professional team in a televised fashion. This afternoon, the Grizzlies “visited” the Philadelphia 76ers in the first of three scrimmages before the restart.
Pete Pranica and Rob Fischer did a great job calling the game remotely from the baseline at the FedExForum. The weirdest part about watching the game was probably the fact that each bounce of the basketball sounded like a tennis serve being returned at Wimbledon. I’m sure that there are plenty of kinks for the league to still work out regarding the fan viewing experience, including this additional news that was released before tip of the Grizzlies game.
Time for 5 observations from today's matchup
1. Anderson remains in starting lineup
Kyle Anderson started his last 15 games before the season was shutdown, and it appears that Taylor Jenkins is going to keep him with that group. This decision may have been made easier with the unfortunate season-ending injury to newcomer Justise Winslow.
In a very weird twist, Kyle Anderson led the Grizzlies in three-point makes, with FOUR!!
2. Slow starts are hard to overcome
The first half was rough for Memphis and they quickly fell behind with poor shooting and poor defense as the driving factors. And yes, those are usually the fastest ways to fall behind.
From the outset, it appeared that the Grizzlies had decided to allow the 76ers big men to shoot wide open jump shots, which Joel Embiid and Al Horford took advantage of.
At halftime, Memphis had dug themselves into a 28-54 deficit, but they didn’t lay down, ultimately falling 83-90 in a hard-fought match.
3. The fisherman was the anchor
Jonas Valanciunas is a self-proclaimed fishing fanatic and he stated that it was his goal to fish every day while in the Orlando bubble. Even if he didn’t make it to the water this afternoon, he caught plenty of buckets and boards in the game. JV ended up with team-highs in both points (20) and rebounds (12).
Maybe it’s because he has chosen to go aerodynamic?
4. A tale of two Jacksons
And I’m not really talking about Josh and Jaren. Mostly I’m referencing one Jaren Jackson Jr. who is capable of making plays like this one minute:
And then letting this happen the next:
Jackson looked pretty gun-shy at the start of the game and often opted to drive instead of taking the catch and shoot three on several occasions. This is a issue of confidence and once he sees a few go in, we all know how hot he can get.
On the night, Jaren scored 13 on 4-12 (1-6) shooting.
5. The young guns aren’t worried
You shouldn’t be either! It was a small sample size, but if the Grizzlies can continue to maintain that fight and scrappiness that they showed in the second half, then things should get lined out by the time the eight seeding games are here.
More NBA content from The Barnburner
- 99 Cent Store free agents: Shooting Guards
- Backdoor Cut (Ep. 89) – NBA in December + Keith Parish of Fastbreak Breakfast
- (Ep. 88) — FA Shooting Guards, BORD$, Trading for Buddy w/ Shawn Coleman
- 99 cent store free agents: Point Guards
- Backdoor Cut (Ep. 87) – Grading Jenkins, Offseason Updates, Mock Draft
- Kyle Anderson deep dive: evaluating his performance for Memphis this season and how he stacks up to comparable players in the league