The Memphis Grizzlies managed to claim their first win of the 2023-24 season Sunday evening against the Portland Trail Blazers, thus ending their horrid winless start to the season and clocking themselves in at 1-6 now heading into week three.
Though not the prettiest of wins, there were a number of positive takeaways that came from the bout, with one, in particular, being the efficiency with which one of their new-look units played.
Just before tip-off, it was announced that Xavier Tillman would be ruled out for the game due to left knee soreness which forced head coach Taylor Jenkins to adjust on the fly and thrust recently signed veteran Bismack Biyombo into the starting five slot in his place.
While he, alone, produced admirably in his debut outing in the first five lineup, as he finished the night with 8 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks in 26 minutes, following the contest the folks at Grind City Media highlighted the key group that helped clinch them their come-from-behind victory.
Memphis Grizzlies ‘found something’ with new-look lineup vs Blazers
"“Down 12 with 7:54 left [in the game], it’s 98-86, and then the Grizzlies closed on a 26-2 run over the final 7:53 to win 112-100. They used in closing time: Marcus Smart, Desmond Bane, Luke Kennard, Jaren Jackson, and Bismack Biyombo. Those five guys spent 8.9 minutes on the court together. They scored 26 points in those 8.9 minutes. This is a team that hasn’t been able to score all year. Suddenly they get 26 points in roughly nine minutes,” said Gary Parrish."
Parrish would continue on with his assessment of this new five-man lineup by breaking down the advanced metrics, noting that they shot a whopping 78.6 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from deep all while registering a +21 plus-minus rating.
Along with this, per 100 possessions, the lineup of Smart, Bane, Kennard, Jackson, and Biyombo are a +121.7 in points, a +15.2 in rebounds, a +29.0 in assists, a +12.5 in blocks, and a +58.5 in field goals made.
Though undoubtedly a limited sample size, it appears the Grizzlies and coach Jenkins may have found something with this new-look lineup.