Memphis Grizzlies: Can good bench play carry this team into the playoffs?

Xavier Tillman, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Xavier Tillman, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /
Memphis Grizzlies
De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /

The Memphis Grizzlies pulled off the win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

Their win resulted from strong bench play that dominated during the second half. But this was a case from the bench that makes fans wonder if this type of play can sustain the team in the second half of the season and into the NBA Playoffs.

Players who came out of the woodworks like De’anthony Melton (14 points), Tyus Jones (11 points), Xavier Tillman (12 points), and Brandon Clarke (11 points) that helped this team break away from the Timberwolves at the start of the third quarter.

Melton, a major role player for this squad, is now shooting 47% on three-pointers since the All-Star break. Tyus Jones, a natural floor general and consistent production player when on the court per usual, got his team involved with 5 assists to go along with his 11 points.

Then you have a player like Desmond Bane, who wasn’t a major contributor on the scoring end, but still made his minutes a factor in a second-half turnaround for the Grizzlies bench with 6 points, 7 boards, a steal, and a block.

The Memphis Grizzlies can stray from the norm in the NBA

The usual cliche saying for teams like the Grizzlies looking to sneak into the playoffs, “there’s still a lot of time,” is an understatement strayed from reality. If there is a point in time for a team to crank it up — it’s now.

The team’s bench play embodied exactly what should now be looked at as the key point in getting this team to the promised land, as well as ending their playoff drought.

This isn’t new, as the Grizzlies’ second unit set a new franchise bench points record earlier in the year against a struggling Houston Rockets team. They would set a new record for margin of victory in the very same game.

When it comes to the starters, Ja Morant can only do so much, as he’s going to need the second unit on this team to replicate what was done against a bad Timberwolves team. This was a Minnesota team that was caught off guard near the end of the third quarter by the Grizzlies’ bench. The 3rd youngest team in the league literally fell apart by the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The team will play on April 4 against the Sixers, as they will need to carry the momentum into Wells Fargo Arena. The Sixers are one of the toughest teams in the league, as the Grizzlies will need to utilize many schemes to contain Joel Embid and Ben Simmons. Embiid comes back after missing 10 games due to a knee injury, so there is a slight possibility he might not be 100%.

dark. Next. Grizzlies player grades in win vs. Timberwolves

Either way, it doesn’t matter, as this Grizzlies team must focus on one thing: making the playoffs.