Look I understand that you just extended Brooks and that it might look bad if you don’t play him. IT DON’T MATTER HOW IT LOOKS! What matters is that it cost you this game. He was cold from the field and kept shooting despite that fact. He’s always going to do that. He’s a shooter. Hot or cold, he shoots and doesn’t adjust. Jenkins has other options that he should have used. Clarke shot 45% from the field. He played eleven minutes less than Brooks. That shouldn’t happen anymore. Josh Jackson was impressive as hell in game one, he should have played much more than he did tonight.
Jenkins must not hesitate to pull the trigger and sub them in for Brooks. I don’t care what the raw numbers say about Brooks, put Clarke or Josh Jackson in. Here’s a raw number for you: 0-2. Both in poor shooting performances by Brooks. Here’s another from tonight: 7-20. Jenkins needs to adjust and not wait to do so. Clarke gives you better defence and better rebounding, and for the moment he also gives you better shooting. DO IT! Make the switch!
Here’s the recap.
Moving On From Game One
Their crushing overtime loss combined with the Spurs win against the Kings place the Grizzlies in a far more precarious position than they hoped for coming into their second seeding game. San Antonio and Portland now trailed them by less than four games. A look a the Grizzlies’ schedule the rest of the way is enough to frighten even the most hardened Memphis fan. It’s a gauntlet, which made this game all the more crucial.
Pelicans, Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Celtics and Bucks. Seriously, it’s what we call a proverbial “walk in the valley of the shadow of death”.
The Grizzlies had won two of their three previous match-ups in which Aldridge and Derozan were both ultra efficient. If they were to win this game the Grizzlies needed to find a way to make Derozan’s life miserable without fouling him and still find a way to contain the Spurs’ sharpshooter.
Jenkins’ game plan should have been filled to the brim with plays for Ja, considering there isn’t a single defender on the Spurs who can stick with him. It was absolutely essential not repeat last game’s mistake by starting slow. The grizzlies needed to come out firing on all cylinders and make a veteran and well-coached team uncomfortable from the get-go.
Slow First Quarter
The first thing we noticed as the tip-off was won by Valanciunas was that Ja wore the freshest pair of kicks we’d seen in a long time. The second was that the spurs were not going to let Memphis get the transition game going. The were going to do everything they could to slow the game down and the pace was glacial in the early going.
The name of the game was mid-range jumpers for San Antonio and quick defensive transitions. Their small lineup was perfectly constructed for it which made them vulnerable in the paint. Jarren Jackson took advantage early by out-muscling the Spurs. He easily got to the bucket and completed a sweet and-one play.
San Antonio had decided to leave the Grizzlies shooters open to crowd the paint, and Memphis made them pay early. Anderson, Brooks and Valanciunas all made long jumpers, but the problem for Memphis was that they couldn’t defend the mid-range game.
Thankfully San Antonio cooled off from the field towards the end of the first quarter. Unfortunately Memphis failed to take advantage of the flagrant lack of shot blocking for the Spurs. They continuously settled for jumpers instead of attacking the paint. They completely ignored their size advantage, enough to wonder if it was a failure in game-planning.
Hoping To Rebound In the Second Quarter
Grayson Allen kept the Grizzlies in the game with two beautiful plays in transition. He scored on a quick drive on which he drew a foul and on a long pull-up from downtown. Valanciunas also made an obvious effort to own the paint knowing full well that no Spur had the strength to battle with him in one on one situations. Credit Jenkins for obviously making adjustments at the break and telling his team to bang on the Spurs down low.
The Spurs came out extremely active on the glass, accumulating offensive rebounds and scoring eight second chance points with five minutes left in the second quarter. The Grizzlies were unable to contain San Antonio who made a concerted effort to violently crash the offensive board.
Jarren Jackson announced his presence in the paint on multiple possessions, being triple teamed and still getting his shot up. His teammates undercut his efforts by missing high percentage shots who had been reliable all season and committing useless fouls away from the ball causing Memphis to go into the locker room down five.
The Grizzlies needed to find a way to apply more pressure on the Spurs’ jump-shooters without compromising their dominance in the paint. It was imperative to get Ja and Jarren More involved. They had taken only ten shots combined at halftime. It was a terrible half of shooting for Memphis who was at 16% from downtown.
Getting Their Stars More Involved Coming Out of The Locker Room
The Spurs came out swinging with and impressive alley-oop from Murray to Walker followed by a White three pointer. Ja also came out willing to pay the price with two contested drives to the bucket. He brought the energy which translated to his teammates. They no longer settled for jumpers and drove to the rim instead, cutting the lead to four early in the third.
The combined efforts of Brooks and Anderson on both ends tired Derozan They kept posting him up and forced him to dispense important amounts of energy on defence. Ja, again, became hesitant and missed opportunities by not taking Eubanks to the hole. When he did, good things happened. A poster alley-opp to Clarke only to name one. A violent layup with white in his face to name another.
The grizzlies could not control their fouling and bailed the Spurs out with multiple fouls at the very end of the shot clock. They were sloppy plays, the kind which young teams often find themselves guilty of.
The Grizzlies hung around and got back in the game towards the end of the quarter by forcing turnovers. For a young Memphis team, turnovers usually mean fast break points and highlights on the other end. On one of these, it meant a cold-blooded Grayson Allen three pointer in transition.
With Ja on the bench the Grizzlies offence went stagnant Jenkins had to quickly put him back in. He immediately scored when he returned on a sweet spin move under the basket. Despite his efforts, Memphis was still down nine points.
Pulling For a Comeback
It all started with Grayson taking a charge. The energy and the game shifted on that play. The Grizzlies looked rejuvenated and cut the lead to five on drives by Ja and Brooks but still struggled to contest the Spurs jump shooting.
Great defence leads to offence and the Grizzlies’ active hands in the lane gave them quick transition opportunities. Unfortunately the Spurs hot shooting kept the Grizzlies at bay.
In the end Ja dazzled, but Derozan came up clutch and won the game for San Antonio.