After losing the restart opener to Portland, the Grizzlies contest against the San Antonio Spurs seemed like a must-win. Unfortunately, Grizzlies fans were forced to witness another excruciating loss in their first “home” game by a final score of 108-106.
For much of the game, the Grizzlies looked tired and sluggish. This fatigue was highlighted in their lack of intensity on the boards and putrid three point shooting. Memphis never saw a lead in the second half, but to their credit fought back from and eleven point deficit to nearly send the game to overtime.
In a bizarre series of events, the Grizzlies nailed a three-pointer to tie the game deep into the fourth quarter, only to learn that a whistle had been blown before the shot was released. The call was a defensive foul on San Antonio away from the ball. This foul negated the basket and erased all the momentum that the Grizzlies had clawed for in the previous precious minutes.
The very end of the game was as whacky as the rest with Jaren Jackson Jr. hitting a FANTASTIC shot from the corner off an inbounds pass with the game on the line and the clock nearly in single digits. Before anyone could celebrate, DeMar DeRozan was pump faking Dillon Brooks into embarrassment and earning a trip to the line where he would eliminate all the euphoric emotions that briefly existed.
TIME FOR MY 5 TAKEAWAYS
I’m not really sure where to start. I stood up for Brooks after the game against Portland, but I can not sit idly by and watch the Grizzlies implode with poor decisions. I know he’s capable of hitting 8 threes in a game and winning a game by himself and the fact still remains that when he is on, the Grizzlies are really good. We just have not seen that side of him in a while, and recently he has had a significant negative impact on the roster
Throughout the season, Jenkins has done a good job of managing lineups, even opting to close out games with Tyus Jones instead of Morant based on who is in a rhythm that day. It shouldn’t be a given that Brooks closes out games and plays every 4th quarter or OT minute, which so far has been the case in Orlando.
Memphis needs to feed the hot hand
Dillon Brooks took the most shots on the team with twenty. Of those twenty, he only hit 7. If you’re doing math at home, this adds up to 35%. Brooks usage rate for the game was 24.7%, which was second only to Ja Morant, who led all scorers with 25 on only 18 shots.
Here comes the painful part. Jaren’s usage rate was a distant third at 17.7%. If Memphis wants to pull these games out, Taylor Jenkins need to get everyone on the same page and prioritize the workload.
The Grizzlies were out-hustled.
For the game, Memphis was out-rebounded 49-39. The Spurs were allowed to grab 12 offensive rebounds while Memphis only secured 3, all of which were snagged by Jonas Valanciunas. The game-high rebounder was San Antonio guard Dejounte Murray, which shows a large lack of focus on the part of the Grizzlies.
For the second game in a row, Grayson Allen made a significant impact for the Grizzlies. He was 2 of 6 from three and scored 15 points on 9 total shots. With Allen, you get the feeling that he is trying to earn his minutes and prove he can be an impact player in the NBA. With that mindset, you can feel the intensity that he plays with and it helps to bring others up to his level.
Shooting and tempo were played the Spurs way
Memphis was 5.5 points better than the Spurs when in transition per Cleaning the Glass. However, the Grizzlies allowed San Antonio to drag them into the mud and set up in the halfcourt on 85% of their plays.
Frequently, the Spurs defy common basketball analytics and thrive in the mid-range on offense. This game was no different. They took 43% of their field goals from the mid-range but also forced Memphis to shoot 34% of their shots from mid-range as well. This shot selection is the antithesis of Taylor Jenkins philosophy and Memphis needs to get more three point attempts off of drive and kicks in order to get their shooters back on track.
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Cover photo: Joe Murphy/Getty Images