Nightly Grades: Grizzlies whup that Clip

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

TeamGradeAnalysis
D+

Didn't really feel like Cleveland played that badly in this one, but they missed some shots and were just out-executed.

After not trading Jarrett Jack at the deadline, he played 40 minutes and 50 seconds, was -11 and 3-of-9 for nine points with five assists.

They really got worked inside, especially by Jonas Valanciunas, but this one was mostly on the offense. They shot 39 percent for the game.

B

Really good win for Tornto, who played terrific defense and had nice offensive balance inside and out. This was mostly a defensive win. Dwane Casey has really gotten through to them in the last two months and the results are stunning. They just swallowed up all the Cavs' ball movement.

Terrence Ross had 20 on 18 shots, and Valanciunas 18-8 felt much bigger.

B-

They didn't play as well as they could have but they also did not need to in any way, shape, or form. They got really sloppy in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but they also scored whenever they wanted. Shawn Marion had 22 on 14 shots. DeJuan Blair had 18 for crying out loud.

Giving up 112 to the Sixers does say something about their continued defensive issues, but you can't fault them for not getting up for this one.

D-

They had eight guys available and Thaddeus "Left Behind" Young and Michael Carter Williams were magnificent (30-13-6-7 for Young, 25-5-6 for MCW) but Arnett Moultrie started this game and they just never had enough weapons.

But hey, second round picks galore!

A

I kind of had a feeling this one was coming. The Suns were mad at their last two losses to the Spurs, close ones that stuck in Jeff Hornacek's skin a bit. So they came out fired up against a short-handed Spurs team that didn't have the energy or execution it usually has.

The Morris Twins were great and Archie Goodwin had an excellent garbage time performance. The Suns didn't even need a great Goran Dragic game. Channing Frye spread the floor really well for the Suns and the Spurs couldn't match their energy or ball movement. Oh, and this:

B

Patty Mills was 2-of-14. That's pretty much it. With their injuries, they have to have random guys like Mills step up and play out of their minds like he has. And their system usually gets someone to. But not vs. the Suns.

But this happened, which was funny.

B

They nearly let this one slip, but they gutted out another tough one. Fun game, really.

Al Jefferson was once again unstoppable. In the first half, the Pelicans really wanted to avoid putting Anthony Davis on Jefferson and Jefferson just Cookie Monster'd Alexis Ajinca.

Maybe most impressive about this was that they didn't play well. The Cats have reached a point where they can play badly and still beat bad teams. As sad as it sounds, that's significant progress. This also could have been an easier win if they had hit a few free throws late.

C+

Gutty performance on the road vs. a tough team. Anthony Davis really struggled (18 points on 17 shots, inefficient for him), but Brian Roberts was really aggressive. Tyreke Evans had five rebounds and seven assists but was 2-of-13 from the field. Eric Gordon just wasn't aggressive enough. He was really passive for much of the third.

Good defensive work to keep it close late, but they might have had this one if they'd executed a bit better.

F

They had a lead in this game, but they way they fell apart left a bad taste in my mouth. They just didn't make the right plays. Some of that is injuries, but some of that is also missing open shots and bad decisions. They need someone to step up and take over other than Paul Millsap. I'm looking at you, Jeff Teague.

B

Great win for a team that needed it. Josh Smith brought a lot of energy and it really did pay off for them. 63-44 second-half run by Detroit.

Greg Monroe was fantastic in this game. 22-15 and he was active, smart, and aggressive. He punished the Hawks inside and really gave terrific effort. There are a lot of criticisms of his game, but that kid tries hard.

F-

They need another big. They need another big. They need another big. They need another big. They need another big. They need another big. They need another big. They need another big.

New coach, improved frontcourt, same story. They get roasted, toasted and beat to grits by Memphis' frontcourt. Zach Randolph (9 in the 4th, 21 points) and Marc Gasol (17 points, 10 boards) are just too much for them inside. Griffin actually was the best Clipper, again. But defensively, they can't match up.

The Clippers took 28 more free throws but only made 14 more, and they still lost this game. That's inexcusable. Chris Paul really struggled and suffered a sprained thumb after.

The Clippers' body language after the game was pure misery. They HATE playing in Memphis against this team.

A+

Tony Allen back, and the difference was clear. His defensive energy helped, his slashing helped, and he just helped in general.

James Johnson... look, just watch.

Yeeeeesh.

Like I said above, the bigs just abused them inside and the energy level was off the charts. This team is primed for a playoff run if they stay healthy. The Mavericks have one game up on them.

F-

YOU CANNOT LOSE THIS GAME.

The Magic are tanking, they came back from the break rusty, and you had Melo drop 44.

YOU CANNOT LOSE THIS GAME.

And yet. Here we are.

Raymond Felton played well, but the defense was horrible, again, and they make mistakes like a young, rookie rebuilding team. Just incredible that they can't find ways to gut out wins like this one.

B+

For starters, Victor Oladipo.

Do more. Home Dipo.

They just hung in there. Arron Afflalo was terrific, finding ways to make shots, and their inside guys held it down. This was a tough game, and both teams wanted it, and the Magic just wanted it more. It's a bad team, but that's a good win.

Plus, Penny Hardaway night!

F-

Take it away, Brian Shaw!

“As a coach and coaching staff, it's our job to try to find five players that want to go out and play and want to have some pride and not decide night-to-night that ‘I'm going to play this game and I'm not going to play this game.' I felt like tonight we had some guys that just decided they weren't going to play tonight, they weren't going to put forth any effort to try to get the job done. It's unfortunate. It's a nationally televised game that we're professionals and as a staff we have to beg guys to give effort when they play.

“I told our team I wish paychecks were predicated on night-to-night performance. So if you play like a star on a given night then you get paid like a star. If you play like an uninspired player, then either you don't get paid or you get paid like an uninspired player. And you can't just pick and choose when you want. Last night we played Milwaukee, who is obviously down players, they have injuries, they've been struggling all season long and we act like the big bad wolf against Milwaukee. And then we come in tonight…and we tuck our tails and we hide basically. We don't defend at all, from the onset of the game until the end. And thus another 30-point loss for us on the road."

via Fuming Nuggets coach Brian Shaw takes team to task after loss.

B

Tony Snell stepped up big time when Jimmy Butler went down. 20 points for the rook, which is fun to see. D.J. Augustin continues to play well, and Joakim Noah did his thing.

This was two teams missing several of their best players and the gap was enormous based primarily on how the players play for their coach. It's a testament to Thibs that he keeps the group together at all times.

Another good win, and Chicago's starting to look like a homecourt team first-round.

B

Tough win for them. They had the loss right in their hands and they let it get away. Mitch Kupchak will wish he had that one back later. MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore got fired up by playing in front of Staples for the first time, and the Celtics just did a better job of falling apart late.

The Lakers fall to sixth in the lottery order. This one may require some soul-searching.

F

Now that's how you lose a game! Terrific job late of Rajon Rondo completely disengaging, and Gerald Wallace gave them quality awful minutes down the stretch.

It was looking like a win, but they woke up and did what they needed to do. A few key turnovers and some awful defense, and all of a sudden, Boston is in fifth place for the lottery. Great loss.

(Let us never speak of this game again.)

D-

Tough loss. They played pretty well and had a lead in the second half but just couldn't keep the perimeter pressure up. Trey Burke is going to struggle guarding point guards throughout his career due to his size, but especially as a rookie. It showed vs. Lillard.

Gordon Hawyard was great for stretches, but once again, late in the game the Jazz just didn't know where to go to get bucket or stops. Nice effort, but they could have had a little better performance and a win with more focus.

B

They beat a bad team because they pulled away. I wouldn't feel great about this one, but Portland needs a boost and this gave them one. 14 in the fourth from Lillard was the difference, and that's why you have two stars. Phenomenal game from License to Lill.

 
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