Memphis Grizzlies Soar in Home-Opener Versus Shorthanded Hawks Club

The Memphis Grizzlies put on a scoring clinic versus the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, and it was a total team effort for 48 minutes.

Two blowout games back-to-back to begin the Memphis Grizzlies‘ season? Talk about a totally different swing of things.

That was the case in FedEx Forum on Friday night, where the Grizzlies debuted their shiny, new home floor for the 2018-19 season. Memphis took advantage of the Atlanta Hawks‘ lack of experience and identity, especially on the defensive end.

Memphis came into this game fresh off of being taken to the cleaners by the Indiana Pacers. With fans rightfully beginning to scratch their heads in confusion, the Grizzlies knew they had to come out on Friday and make a statement to the home crowd. That is exactly what they did.

Atlanta landed the first punch of the match. They traded blows with the Memphis Grizzlies in the first quarter and were able to keep things close after 12 minutes to the tune of 33-37, giving Memphis a four-point lead.

The second quarter is where Memphis began to give the young Hawks too much smoke for them to handle. The home team continued to come out firing on all cylinders with just about everyone making shots early on. Nobody of course shined for the Beale Street Blue boys like rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. and Garrett Temple did on the evening.

Temple came out of the gate on Friday making a three-point shot off of a Jaren Jackson Jr. assist. A few possessions in, Garrett Temple had already made the three-point shot three times within his first ten minutes of action.

It was then clear that Atlanta had major problems on defense, so the easy buckets were poppin’ like a Tunica Casino buffet on the weekends. Temple came to eat, posting 17 points in the second quarter alone.

By the time the first half ended, the Memphis Grizzlies had scored nearly 40 points in each quarter. They led 61-77. When the Grizzlies unleash nearly 80 points in a single half, you know things are not looking good for the other side.

The second half was more or less the same story with Mike Conley continuing to look great, notching his first double-double on the young season with a stat line of 16 points, 11 assists (including zero turnovers) with a net of +26.

Marc Gasol had another all-around solid performance by anyone’s standards with a production line of 13 points, seven rebounds, and five assists with the second-highest net of the evening at +31, which was only exceeded by Garrett Temple.

In speaking of Garrett Temple, he finished the night with a 30-piece special with a side of four rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, and an insane net of +37. He was consistent throughout and was by far the Most Valuable Player of the matchup.

Another great offensive performance for the Memphis Grizzlies came from the fourth overall pick of this year’s NBA Draft. Jaren Jackson Jr. had a fantastic evening from the field, going 8/12 overall, including shooting 50% from three-point land.

What was really interesting is that Jackson Jr., along with Shelvin Mack, Dillon Brooks, and Wayne Selden, all finished the game with negative net ratings. This leads me to realize that the bench units did not fair as well as the starters in containing their matchup.

Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with a -8 net rating, which says a lot about their defense when you consider the margin of victory the Grizzlies had over the Hawks.

Forward Chandler Parsons played just 17 minutes versus Atlanta, but he did score 11 points in that timeframe. Guard Andrew Harrison received a “DNP-CD” in the box score despite the Memphis Grizzlies having the game under wraps since the first half.

Hopefully the home debut version of the 2018-19 Grizzlies are the ones we will see mostly this season. This was a team that shot 50% from downtown and 54% overall from the field on Friday.

As the Memphis Grizzlies prepare for their next matchup (Monday) in Salt Lake City, Utah against Shelvin Mack’s former club, the Grizz have to stick to the routine that led them to scoring 131 points on Friday aside from Atlanta’s total inability to track their matchups and stop easy shots.