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Shooting numbers found their way back to at least relative respectability, as the team recorded a 43% field goal percentage on Tuesday evening. However, the end result remained the same, as fleeting defense proved to be the Grizzlies’ downfall in their third summer contest. The Grizzlies fell to a record of (0-3) at the hands of the undefeated Phoenix Suns squad by a score of 100-88, as they became the first team to surrender triple digits in Las Vegas this year. Memphis got out to an early start, winning the first quarter of play, and starting off the second strong, but could not hold off the surging Suns attack consisting of Diante Garrett (12 assists), Archie Goodwin (22 points), P.J. Tucker (18 points on 70% shooting), and Arinze Onuaku (13 points, 12 rebounds – 6 offensive). The Grizzlies will be playing their next game against the Washington Wizards

Returning Performers:

Tony Wroten: PG, 6’6, 208, 20 years old, Washington

Statline: 17 points, 4 assists, 3 steals

A blind look at the raw statistics above suggests a sound improvement on Wroten’s end, over the past game, but efficiency considered, this was another rough outing for the dynamic second year guard. Behind the above numbers are a 4-17 shooting night, another sub-60% performance from the foul line, and a nasty 6 turnovers. Wroten started the game with a bang, hitting two pretty three-pointers in the early going, but after the first quarter he fizzled out from the hot start, missing a number of “heat check” threes after the fact, totaling out for the night at 2-8 from downtown. The bright side here is that he is still getting to the line with unbelievable regularity, as he mustered a total of 12 attempts. The highlight of his night was a beautiful lob pass to Donte Greene, which slightly assists his cause in that he’d be better with better players around him. After the first game, I overheard Coach Joerger walk by Wroten, joking to the tune of, “not used to playing so many minutes,” and it appears that fatigue may be a factor in the tapering-off effect of his play deeper into these games. Say what you want about Summer League, but as Donte Greene told me after game one, “guys are out there competing for a job.” These games are a grind.

Donte Greene: SF, 6’11, 226, 25 years old, Syracuse

Statline: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3-5 3pt

Speaking of Greene, he enjoyed his best performance to date here in Vegas, nailing three shots from deep. Greene was brought to Memphis at the end of last season based on the potential of filling the valued role of a big, lengthy floor spacer, and up to this point, he had yet to display that he can be just that. Well in this case, Tuesday was definitely a step in the right direction. He played with a lot of energy out there, getting after rebounds, and even rising up for the aforementioned alley-oop connection with Wroten. Greene’s game was far from flawless, as he committed 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, and clanked all but one of his four free throws, but this game was certainly a start. 

Willie Reed: PF, 6’9, 220, 23 years old, St. Louis

Statline:  10 points, 5 rebounds, 5-7 FG

Reed did a much better job of being effective offensively, against the Suns, but at the same time ended up getting killed on the glass. Still, we know that Reed can rebound, so by merit of the shooting numbers alone, this game was encouraging. He was able to flash his athleticism as well, with a pair of nice dunks in the second quarter.

Drafted Rookies:

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Credit: Steve Danziger / 3SOB

Janis Timma: SF, 6’7, 226, 21 years old, Ventspils (Latvia)

Statline: 3 points, 3 fouls, 8 min

Timma did not get much of a chance to make a case against his struggles in the first two games, as he sat out from the starting lineup and did not check in until late in the first quarter. He played a mere total of eight minutes for the game, as he was reportedly dealing with a toe injury. His lone field goal again came in the form of a slashing finger roll, displaying his ability to move with the ball in his hands. His other field goal attempt — a jumper — came up way short again, which may be another indicator of fatigue on the team. Timma is very raw at this point, and could use some more time overseas (or in the D-League, perhaps) to pepper up and shake off the jitters, but I can easily see him becoming a valuable NBA contributor one day.

Long Shots:

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Credit: Steve Danziger / 3SOB

Jack Cooley: 6’9, 244, 22 years old, Notre Dame

Statline: 13 points, 10 rebounds, 0-4 3pt

Cooley has come back down to earth after his near-Zbo line (20/10) in the second Summer League game, but he still notched a double-double against Phoenix. His 6-16 output from the field is brought down by his attempted extension of his shooting range to beyond the perimeter, as he went 0-4 from the arc. A couple of those attempts were “over-set” if you will, as he was flat-footed and out of rhythm leading up to the jump and release on the shot, due to holding the ball prior. He was also blocked twice at the rim, which is illustrative of the difficulties that he will face at the next level, lacking the size and athleticism to be regularly effective around the basket. With his aggressiveness on the offensive glass, though (6 offensive rebounds), he could become a major source of put-backs.

Matt Howard: PF, 6’8, 225, 24 years old, Butler - Howard looked like, well, Matt Howard. He served well as an intermediate passer, made his only shot attempt, racked up four fouls, and pulled down a few boards despite his glaring lack of lift in the post.

Vander Blue: SG, 6’5, 197, 20 years old, Marquette - Jason Levien said during an in-game interview that he “would not be surprised to see [Blue] in the league.” Despite doing so in earlier games, Blue neither started nor played much against Phoenix, but did manage to continue to prove in his limited sample that he is capable of making quick decisions with the ball. He went 3-4 shooting on the evening, including a thunderous dunk.

Laurence Bowers: PF, 6’8, 205, 23 years old, Missouri - Bowers only saw six minutes of action this evening, in which he sank a jumper and was pretty productive defensively (2 steals, 1 block).

Gerald Robinson: PG, 6’1, 177, 24 years old, Georgia - Robinson got the starting nod against Phoenix, as he spent a lot more time on the ball in attempt to free up Wroten. He did a respectable job of manning the point and moving the ball, logging 14 points (on 50% shootinig) and 8 assists for the game.

- Christian Burns: PF, 6’8, 240, 27 years old, Quinnipiac - Burns made his debut for the Grizzlies summer squad Tuesday, but had a pretty uneventful six minutes or so of play, aside from a blocked shot.

Next up: Tournament Round 1 (Info to be updated)

Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Washington Wizards
When: Wednesday, July 17th, 5:30 CST
Where: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
Watch: NBA League Pass Summer League

Stay tuned on Twitter @StevieDanziger for continuing updates of Grizzlies Summer League action.

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