The Memphis Grizzlies Summer League team returned to action on the second straight night to face the Minnesota Timberwolves Summer League team, hoping to get rid of a very forgettable loss on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s the Summer League, so of course this game with the Timberwolves was very different from the 1st round playoff with previous regular rosters, but there’s a certain familiarity for the city of Memphis with the former Memphis Tiger , Josh Minott, on the Timberwolves Summer League Composition.
There has been a change in the starting lineup, as ‘veterans’ Ziaire Williams and Xavier Tillman have been given the night off. They were replaced by Vince Williams Jr. and Summer League star so far Kenneth Lofton Jr.
Santi Aldama started the match much better than it has been this Summer League with 3 first baskets on the rim to score 6 points. A lot of his struggles were missing easy hits to the rim, so this debut was huge for a confidence boost.
Another interesting thing to note was new Grizzly Danny Green sitting courtside with Taylor Jenkins, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Kleiman, Ja and Tee Morant and Tyus Jones amid trade speculation. It could mean nothing but interesting (and good) to see.
Back in the game, Santi Aldama continued his impressive offensive start by finishing the 1st quarter with 8 points on 4-5 on shots and 2 rebounds. Additionally, Tremont Waters came off the bench to score 7 points to help the Grizzlies take a 4-point lead late in the 1st quarter, 21-17. The David Roddy-Tremont Waters chemistry stood out for me during this stint in the Summer League.
The turnover bug surfaced in the 2nd quarter with 5 Grizzlies turnovers to allow Minnesota to take a 3-point lead near the midpoint. Santi Aldama would calm the team down with some timely baskets, including hustle plays that led to baskets to help pace the Timberwolves to a halftime tie, 31-31.
A fun game to watch throughout the first half was Kenneth Lofton Jr. vs. Josh Minott as both players displayed a physical style that led to some really good defending and some tough shooting when they got into each other. kept. Also, the shooting was horrible for both teams in the 1st half as both teams combined to shoot 2-32 from 3.
The horrific shooting continued into the 3rd quarter, but the Timberwolves seemed to find a way to get easier shots to the rim to take an 8-point lead. However, solid defense and sloppy play from the Timberwolves gave the Grizzlies a run to regain the lead to end the 3rd quarter, 47-46.
Both teams started making some 3-point shots and started a bit of a transition to start the 4th quarter. After the media timeout, the Grizzlies raced with an active defense to create transition opportunities to win the game 70-63.
It was a very lousy and sometimes hard-to-watch shooting game, when you add both teams’ turnovers, but the Grizzlies “squeak and creak” their way to their first victory in Las Vegas. Now for a few notes:
Santi Aldama – A- (22 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, +13 +/-)
A well-deserved outing from the 2nd year big man. Santi was the big talking point after Saturday night’s blowout loss to the Clippers for his lack of development since his rookie season, and he answered the call against the Timberwolves. Whenever the Grizzlies needed a bucket to end a Timberwolves run, Santi was the go-to man. While scoring 22 on 22 attempts isn’t ideal, his rim aggression was good to see. Plus, he made a concerted effort to be everywhere on defense.
Kennedy Chandler – B (10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, +2 +/-)
Kennedy Chandler struggled with his shot, but his defensive intensity continued and was an integral part of the game. Another good sign to see was his 6-8 (75%) free throw shooting as it was one of his weaknesses (61% in college) when he entered the NBA.
Kenneth Lofton Jr. – B- (4 points, 10 rebounds, 5 turnovers, -4 +/-)
Junior had his worst shooting game and led the team with 5 turnovers, but affected the game in other ways, especially rebounding. His physique was still on display and his defense over Josh Minott helped the Grizzlies pull away for the win.
Tremont Waters: B+ (16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, +10 +/-)
Tremont Waters continued his impressive run in the Summer League as a spark plug on the bench. His 1st quarter helped the Grizzlies take the lead after trailing for most of the quarter. Additionally, Tremont Waters was the only Grizzly to hit multiple 3-pointers and shoot halfway decent from beyond the arc (2-5).
David Roddy: B (10 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers, +10 +/-)
The 1st-round rookie draft pick continued his jack-of-all-trades role off the bench with good results. Despite being 2nd on the team with 3 turnovers and shooting 0-5 of 3, David Roddy had his mark all over the ballgame with some intimidating ballplay and defensive pressure.
Overall rating: B
Shooting 3-31 (9.7%) from 3 is certainly not what we expect from this young team, but finding a way to win despite that is to be commended. Good defense always seems to be found on any Memphis team and is a norm at this point. Not all wins are pretty, but continued development is a priority and that was demonstrated in this gritty performance.
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