Jaren Jackson's 31 Points Wasn't Enough As the Memphis Grizzlies Fell To The Indiana Pacers; DeAnthony Melton Shines Again
Memphis Grizzlies standout big-man Jaren Jackson Jr. scored a season-high 31 points on Monday night but his efforts came up short as the visiting Indiana Pacers came out on top with a 117-104 win over the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies, who were on the second night of a back-to-back came out initiating their will early but it would be the Pacers that would maintain the energy from beginning to end. The Grizzlies were also playing short-handed again with Ja Morant, Jonas Valaciuna, Brandon Clarke, and Kyle Anderson all being unavailable. In spite of the loss, Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins praised his team's efforts.
“Super proud of our guys," Jenkins said. The last two games, how we’ve come out with a competitive edge against two teams currently in the playoffs. We’ve been talking about this, this past week dating back to the Clippers game, Jazz game, Timberwolves, tonight—3 of 4, back-to-back, there’s no excuses. We could’ve come out super flat. I know our offense wasn’t where it could’ve been, missing some shots, layups, threes, but we competed.
"I thought our guys scrapped, competed," Jenkins would add. redit to the Pacers—they had another great shooting night regardless of what coverage we were in. They’ve got a lot of talented players, but I felt like the effort from our guys was where it needs to be and that’s something as we’re about to hit the road for 10 days, when you have that same urgency from the start of the game, just keep getting better.”
Taylor Jenkins Post Game Press Conference
Second-year combo guard DeAnthony Melton would have another impressive performance off of the bench with 16 points 9 rebounds and 4 assists in 25 minutes. Melton has emerged as a high energy impact player on both sides of the ball that is sure to put pressure on Coach Jenkins to crack the rotation and receive more playing time at both guard spots.
“I’m just playing hard, honestly," Melton would say about his recent play. "I’m just playing hard, trusting the offense, trusting my teammates, too. My teammates are doing a great job. We are all moving the ball. Everybody’s getting touches. We’re getting out and running. People are getting easy buckets, not only me, but just our whole team.”
Head Coach Taylor Jenkins acknowledged Melton seizing the moment and making the most out his recent opportunity and he would speak on this as well.
“I’m just going out there and having fun," Melton said. "Basketball’s a fun sport for me, so going out there and having fun, playing hard, playing with my teammates and just enjoying it. It doesn’t matter whether I’m the one or the two, it’s just basketball, playing hard.
DeAnthony Melton Locker Room Comments
Jaren Jackson Jr. would praise Melton as well.
“Yeah, he’s really good in the pick-and-roll.," said Jackson Jr. "Obviously his shiftiness is going to get him a long way because he’s keeping defenders on their toes. He can really read the defense well. But yeah, he’s been huge, especially that last win we had [at Minnesota]. He was huge in that game, came alive for us. Here he was ready to play [tonight], came in and did the same thing. A lot to look forward to with him.”
Jackson had a great game on Monday with 31 points and 4 rebounds but he was also able to go 9 for 9 from the free-throw line. He had an off night from the three-point line going 2 of 8 but his post play was refreshing after seeing him struggle to get looks in the paint for most of the season. Jackson acknowledged that he had to increase his offensive load with so many players out but he would also say that it requires a team effort as well.
"I mean, everybody has got to come in and have each other’s back, especially when we’ve got a lot of guys down," Jackson Jr. said. "What everybody was doing, they just have to increase that, boost their roles a little bit. People might have different roles at different times, but in the flow of the offense, if you’re just making shots, we’ll find you, whoever is hot.”
“Everybody contributed," Jackson Jr. added. "You know, when guys go down, you’ve got to step up. So everybody from the bench to those who had to step up in the starting lineup, everybody contributed.”
Jaren Jackson Jr. Locker Room Comments
The Grizzlies now prepare for their first major road trip - a ten-day, four-game swing that includes games against the Bulls, Jazz, Warriors, and Suns. Jackson would speak on what the team's mindset needs to be in preparation for such a long trip.
“Build off of what we’ve been doing," said Jackson Jr. "I think we’ve been playing a lot harder and playing a lot smarter, playing within ourselves and within our system. Just have to carry that on [with us] on the road.”