The Memphis Grizzlies, now beaten by Ja Morant and Desmond Bane in addition to Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ziaire Williams, traveled to Washington DC for a rematch with the Wizards. Throughout the season, the Grizzlies struggled with numerous injuries, but were able to stay competitive through it all. Last night was no different despite a tough road loss.
The first half wasn’t the best for the Grizzlies and they struggled on the field, but on defense they managed to limit the Wizards and keep the game close. A second-quarter run saw the Grizzlies take a 9-point lead, but they were still trailing by four heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Grizz were able to stay competitive. However, the Grizzlies’ injuries and the Wizards’ hot shots from behind the arc (47.5%) were just too much to overcome. The Grizzlies fell to Washington 102-92, let’s get to the notes.
Santi Aldama- A-: 15 points, 6-11 FG (3-4 3-PT) 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 2 TO
With your top three players out, it was going to take a lot for the other guys to compete on the road. Santi Aldama definitely seized the opportunity with a full match. Offensively, he made the most threes of any team member and shot 75% from behind the arc. Defensively, Aldama did a good job inside with 3 blocks and challenged plenty more on the rim. The home defense as a whole was one of the bright spots of tonight’s game and that’s partly thanks to Aldama’s defensive prowess in the paint.
Steven Adams – A: 12 points, 10 rebounds (6 offensive), 6-8 FG, 6 assists
Steven Adams dominated on the glass, which seems like a nighttime opportunity at this point, and added a lot on the attacking side as well. The surprising part of tonight’s performance was his willingness to attack the basket, earning him one of his most striking outings of the season. He also added 6 assists and was a solid secondary playmaker for Tyus Jones, which was especially important without Morant and Bane. Adams did everything he could on a night when the Grizzlies were outnumbered, but it still wasn’t enough.
Tyus Jones – B: 17 points, 7-18 FG (1-4 3-PT), 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 TO
The NBA’s best reserve point guard was back in Washington, though it didn’t end in a win. Jones could have been more effective from the floor, but overall he had a solid game. Tyus turned the ball over twice, which is rare for him, but he made up for it by forcing three turnovers at the other end. The Grizzlies have relied on Jones in situations like these over the past few seasons with great success, and he’s continued to prove why he’s so important to this roster.
Dillon Brooks-D: 19 points, 7-22 FG (3-9 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 fouls
In games where the other guys are out, you can always expect Dillon Brooks to play a bigger role. Tonight was more or less the same as Brooks took the most shots of any team member. However, he struggled to score, was ineffective from the ground, had poor shot selection on the attacking side and just couldn’t get to that side of the ball. The one thing you can never doubt is his effort, but last night it also gave him trouble throughout the game. Brooks is so important to this team, especially on this side of the ball, so his foul issues on top of the number of absentees were just too much to overcome.
Overall rating: C
Considering who was missing in tonight’s game and the fact the Grizzlies were on the road, it’s no surprise they struggled. The Grizzlies have been great shorthanded in the past, but when your role players are forced to be bigger parts of the team at both ends of the field, it usually doesn’t end well. They’ve defied logic on that front in the past, but just couldn’t survive the three-point onslaught of wizards down the road. Luckily for the Grizzlies, Bane and Morant aren’t expected to be out long and Jackson Jr. could be back within the week.
For more Grizzlies talk, subscribe to the Grizzly Bear Blues Podcast Network at Google Podcasts, Apple podcast, embroiderer, Spotifyand iHeart. Follow Grizzly Bear Blues on Twitter and instagram.