Saturday, December 21, 2019

No Cool Points: Grizzlies Fall to Cleveland 114-107

Posted By on Sat, Dec 21, 2019 at 9:29 AM

click to enlarge IMAGE FROM TWITTER
  • Image from Twitter

The NBA is a game of runs and repeatedly throughout this season, the Grizzlies have run out of runs after establishing a double-digit lead.  

The Cleveland Cavaliers were too much for the Grizzlies to handle in the final period in Cleveland Friday night. The Cavaliers closed out the game on a 33–14 run, after trailing by 12 points (93–81) with around 10 minutes left in the final period. The Cavaliers pulled off the victory, 114–107, to gain back-to-back wins.

Cleveland hit 17 3-pointers. Kevin Love hit two timely threes in the final minutes to help his team seal the victory. Love and Jordan Clarkson combined for 11 of the Cavaliers three-point shots. Love ended the game with 21 points (five 3-pointers) and 13 rebounds. Clarkson led Cleveland with a season-high 33 points, while going 12–of-17 from the field, including 6-of-8 from deep in 30 minutes as a reserve.  

Sophomore forward Jaren Jackson, Jr. led the Grizzlies with 24 points and two blocked shots. Dillon Brooks chipped in 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, plus two steals. 

Jonas Valanciunas secured his 15th double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds, plus four blocks. 

Highlight of the game

Ja Morant almost ended Love with a vicious dunk. Take a look: 

After the game, Love said of the dunk attempt:

“He’s unbelievably impressive. I really didn’t think he was going to take off from there.  I slid over on him and he took off. I knew he was athletic, but damn; he legit jumped over me. It was just at the very end (that) he clipped me with his leg, but I was so glad he missed that dunk. I looked back, I helped him up and that was like my tip of the hat to him. But the kid is really special, and you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. He’s going to continue to get better.”

Love even took to Twitter after the game:

The dunk attempt over Love really didn’t matter to Morant: “He was in the way —  (I) just wanted to finish the play. You don’t get no cool points for a missed dunk.”

Social media is still talking about the missed dunk and the rookie guard is still trending on Twitter, but Morant didn’t have a good night shooting, finishing the game with just eight points (4 of 11 from the field). He tied a career-high with 11 assists, and added five rebounds. 

Issues with giving up leads

Morant isn’t worried about the Grizzlies' inability to hold double-digit leads. He added, “We’ll be fine .  We’re still learning. Last-minute, (I) had a turnover, they made a free throw, we got a stop, I missed a box-out, they got a rebound. I’ll take that loss  —  put it on me.”

Jackson knows that the NBA is a game of runs and that his team has to capitalize while having the lead. He said, “As quickly as you can get a lead, you can lose it if you don’t play the right way. I think, honestly, we did some good things out there. They (the Cavaliers) started making shots and when they make shots, you just got to raise the intensity.”

He continued, “You got to make them more uncomfortable. So, we have things we can definitely learn from this game. Being up in the game is always encouraging — you just have to keep the lead.”

By the numbers

Since Dec. 21, 2014, Cleveland has won 8 of their last 11 games against the Grizzlies. 

Cleveland improved to 8–21 on the season and 5–10 at home.

Memphis is now 10–19 on the season and 5–8 on the road.

The Grizzlies were outscored in second-chance points by the Cavs 22–8 (+14)

Cleveland won the rebound battle by grabbing a season-high 60 rebounds. The rebounding differential over the Grizzlies was 60–46 (+14).

The Grizzlies bench was outscored by Cleveland 47–35 (+12)

Quotes from Coach Taylor Jenkins

"A disappointing loss, given the lead we had. Credit the Cavs for coming back in the fourth." 

He added, “They came up with some big 50–50 balls and rebounds at the end of the game. They’ve been doing it the whole game. To out-rebound us by 14 is not good enough by our standards. You know, a couple of missed layups, a couple of turnovers down the stretch kind of cost us. So, proud of our guys' fight, especially coming back after a tough loss in OKC. You know, we got to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”

Up Next

The Grizzlies return home tonight to face the Sacramento Kings at FedExForum. Tip-off is at 7 pm CST. 

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