Player Grades: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Washington Wizards

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

After losing their first game of the regular season to the superteam in New York, the Memphis Grizzlies returned to FedEx Forum and protected home-court in an overtime thriller.

The Memphis Grizzlies improved their record at home to 2-0, thanks in large part to the eternal two-man game of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. The pair took over late in the game vs. the Wizards, and never looked back after scoring 12 unanswered points in the overtime period. While the focus of Grizzlies fans was undoubtedly placed upon the shoulders of Gasol and his newly discovered talent of three point shooting (and guitar playing), several other Grizzlies played a significant role in Sunday’s victory.

Memphis Grizzlies. MIKE CONLEY. B+. The minutes restriction of Saturday was no longer, as Conley racked up 24 points and 11 assists in 38 minutes of play. Conley didn’t have the best night shooting the ball (8-of-19 FGs), but did contribute a trio of 3-pointers and knocked down all five of his free throw attempts. His largest contribution, however, came in overtime, when Conley swished two free throws, then proceeded to set up Gasol for his two 3s to ice the game.. G

C. Memphis Grizzlies. MARC GASOL. A+. Gasol, however, did play on a minutes restriction. The big fella was scheduled for 20 minutes, and was only four minutes over his limit at the end of regulation, but overtime pushed his total near the 30 minute mark. In his time on the court, Gasol added 20 points, 10 boards, and four (!) 3-pointers. Gasol locked up on defense towards the end of the fourth quarter, and gifted the Grizzlies audience with an offensive spectacle in overtime, which was completed by a Johnny Cash guitar solo celebration.

F. Memphis Grizzllies. ZACH RANDOLPH. A-. Randolph had another solid game off the pine, adding 22 points and 7 rebounds to the Grizzlies’ totals. Randolph left the outside shooting to Gasol Sunday night, and reverted back to his old jab-stepping self. Randolph went 5-for-6 on his shots in the paint, using his quick first step and impressive footwork to get to the front of the rim at will.

James Ennis: B-

Ennis struggled to find his shot Sunday night (3-10 FGs), so he decided instead to make his impact by crashing the boards (12 rebounds). Ennis started at two-guard Sunday night, and didn’t look quite as comfortable as he normally does when playing as a forward. His continued effort and grit earned him a B- despite his shooting woes.

JaMychal Green: B-

Green didn’t have a big night any many statistical areas, but he minimized turnovers and posted a net rating of +12, good for 3rd on the team. Green still struggles to defend without fouling, and will need to improve his defense if he hopes to remain a starter (Jarell Martin is comin’).

Vince Carter: A

Carter lit it up from downtown Sunday night, and joined a group of elite players in the process.

Carter posted 20 points in 32 minutes of action, which is exactly the type of performances Grizzlies fans want to see from the future Hall of Famer on a consistent basis. Look for Carter to get some rest and play closer to 15 minutes Tuesday in Minnesota.

Jarell Martin: C+

Martin showed us some glimpses of his talent that has lead many people (me) to believe he may enter the starting lineup before season’s end. He logged his first start in his career Sunday night, but played down a position at the small forward spot. Martin looked a bit strange on the wing, but he did manage to gobble up 5 rebounds in 20 minutes of action.

Andrew Harrison: C+

Harrison played heavy minutes yet again, albeit in a bench role. He struggled to defend without fouling, but did manage to add 9 points and 3 assists in his third NBA game. Harrison will most likely see his minutes cut when Tony Allen returns, but it is possible Coach Fizdale continues to play Harrison to provide the Grizzlies with another ball handler and 3-point shooter.

Wade Baldwin IV: C

Baldwin didn’t hit a single shot in 5 attempts, but did manage to dish 4 assists in 18 minutes. Baldwin also managed 2 steals. While it is apparent that the rookie is still experiencing some growing pains, his athleticism and court vision allow him to remain a viable option once the Grizzlies return to full health.

Next: Quick Hits: Grizz vs. Wiz