Monday, January 27, 2020

Grizzlies Beat the Suns; NBA Mourns Kobe Bryant

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 3:57 PM

kobe-bryant.jpg

The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Phoenix Suns 114–109 on Sunday night. But basketball was the furthest thing from most minds after the tragic death of NBA great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli Alyssa Altobelli,Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan in a helicopter crash in California.

Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins really didn’t want to talk about the game that had transpired before 17, 214 fans. All he wanted to talk about was the loss of Bryant. “Gutsy win by our guys, but I’m not really in the mood to talk about the game as much,” he said. “Obviously, today is a very tough one for a lot of people  —  the NBA community, the basketball world, the Bryant family, the families of those who have lost family members in a horrific crash today. I said it before the game, it’s obviously something that you don’t wish you were talking about.” 

Jenkins continued with his praise of Bryant, “Basketball-wise, to lose a legend, to lose an individual who made a profound impact on the court and off the court not only in the Los Angeles community, but globally. Kobe stood for so many great things  —  greatness, competitiveness, drive, commitment, inspired generations. So many of our young guys have been touched by what he paved the way for. There are really no words.” 

No words is really what many in the NBA community and fans around the world are feeling at this moment. It hit hard. 

Jenkins went on to say, “I’m fortunate to be up here today to be able to speak on behalf of our organization, our players. Words only mean so much. It is going to be tough to overcome, but hopefully everyone rallies around not just the families and the organizations, but everyone that has been touched by Kobe and his legacy. He’s carved an unbelievable path. As I said, I wish we weren’t talking about this today but we do have to find a way to celebrate. It’s very raw and emotional right now. Today’s game pales in comparison to the new reality we face without one of the best in the game.”

It was a raw emotional day after the news broke of Bryant’s demise. NBA games were still played and private grief became public. 


Ja Morant - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Ja Morant

Prior to tip off, the Grizzlies and the Suns honored Bryant with a moment of silence. After the Grizzlies won the opening tip, Ja Morant dribbled the ball for 24 seconds for a shot-clock violation, then the Suns’ Ricky Rubio held the ball for eight seconds for a backcourt violation to show respect to Bryant. Bryant wore numbers 8 and 24 during his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Everyone was on their feet chanting, Kobe! Kobe! Kobe! A very emotional moment in FedExForum. 


After the game, Jenkins explained the tributes to the fallen star. “When the news broke, you’re shocked  —  you don’t know what words to say, Jenkins explained. “My mind went immediately to those who had relationships with him, coached against him, coached with him, played with him, played against him. Finally, we got around to we have to be able to honor him at some point in our small part. A lot of credit goes to our head video guy, T.C. Swirsky. He talked about jersey 24. Can we somehow take a shot clock violation?”

Jenkins went on to say, “I contacted Monty [Williams] and he was thinking the exact same thing. I went over there and talked about how we could, in our small part, pay tribute. Unbelievable by our fans. Obviously, our organization doing a moment of silence, but the fans to chant his name. The players on the court to recognize the impact that those two possessions could have to bring, hopefully, a celebration in a very, very tough time. As I said, I think other teams are doing the same thing. It’s our small part. Now it’s on us to continue to celebrate this beautiful legacy gone way too soon.”


The Grizzlies won the season series against the Suns 3–1 after Sunday’s victory and improved to 22–24 on the year. 

Morant scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, to go with eight assists and five rebounds. Dillon Brooks added 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists. In 34 minutes, Jaren Jackson Jr. also tallied 20 points while going 7-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from the 3-point line, along with three rebounds and two blocks before fouling out late in the final period. Brandon Clarke chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds as a reserve. 

With the loss, the Suns dropped to 19–27 for the season. Devin Booker led all scorers with 36 points, five assists, and two rebounds. Kelly Oubre Jr. tallied 27 points, nine rebounds, and three assists while going 8-of-19 from the field. Deandre Ayton posted his 11th double-double of the season with 17 points, 15 rebounds and two assists. Former Grizzlies player Jevon Carter added eight points, two assists, and three steals off the bench.  

Quotables
Jaren Jackson, Jr.

On playing today after hearing of Kobe Bryant’s passing:

“To be honest, I didn’t feel like doing it, to keep it 100. You’ve got to be a pro. That’s what 2–4 (Kobe Bryant) stood for and there’s no better way to go out there and honor him than to play pro basketball and do what you love, so that’s what we did today. Both teams.”

On what Kobe Bryant means to him:

“Just for the game of basketball and in general and in life, he’s an icon and someone who we all saw growing up. Through all his runs, through everything, he was able to teach and to bring back to the younger playing through camps and Nike, just being able to do a lot. His impact is something that you can’t really fathom because it’s just so great. It definitely hurts.”

On whether playing the game helped him cope and forget about the loss of Kobe Bryant:

“No, it didn’t to be honest. It still hasn’t helped me forget. You ever just know you have to do something so you just try to figure it out and you find a way? That’s what we call it every day. You find a way o go out there and put your best effort out there, and thank God we got a win today. Despite the circumstances, I’m glad we came together as a team and got the job done.”

Who Got Next

The Grizzlies will host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, January 28, at 7 p.m.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Grizzlies Fall to Pelicans 126–116

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 1:48 PM

It has become an annual tradition for the Grizzlies to play at home on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a nationally broadcast game. Unfortunately for them, they finished this 6-game homestand with a loss, snapping a seven-game winning streak in the process. The effort was there from the Grizzlies, but the Pelicans clearly wanted to leave with the W and made it happen.  

 

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The Grizzlies showed that defending well is still sometimes a problem, and the whole team struggled with outside shooting. In fact, the Grizzlies closed the night having shot just 9 of 33 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday set a new career high with seven made three pointers, and New Orleans as a whole shot 44 percent from distance.
 

The Grizzlies might have lost the outside shooting battle, but they outscored the Pelicans 70-36 in the paint. The turnover and rebounding battles were other high points, with the Grizzlies out-rebounding the Pelicans 51-43, as well as converting New Orleans’ 17 turnovers into 20 points.  

 

 


By The Numbers:

Four of the five Grizzlies starters finished in double-digits.  

  • Jae Crowder continued to struggle offensively with just 2 points. 
  • Dillon Brooks tied his season-high with 31 points, and his career-high with 9         rebounds and 4 assists. 
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. finished the night with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
  • Ja Morant closed out with 16 points and 9 assists. 
  • Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, for his 21st double-double of the season. 

 

What They Said ... 
Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins:

“Give the Pelicans tons of credit. They played amazing tonight and were firing on all cylinders. They’ve been playing great, and they proved it again tonight. Jrue Holiday stepped in and set a tone for them, but [Brandon] Ingram’s playing well as are the guys off their bench. They played great, and we didn’t have it today. Just timing was off and all of that. I’m proud of the guys competing, and we cut it down to five. It was definitely ugly for a good majority of the game. It was a product of them playing great and us really not playing that good. I’m proud of the guys, but we’ve just got to turn a corner and get ready for the next game.”

On how much defensive movement affected offensive movement: “I’ll have to go back and watch. I felt like we were trying to switch a lot and just our communication wasn’t there. It was there sporadically throughout, and they ran a whole lot of movement, But if we’re switching, we should be able to stop all that movement and just keep it in front. That’s where I said that they played great but there were miscues on our part for sure. Offensively, I felt like we didn’t really have the timing, regardless of what was going on on the defensive end. We’ll be better. Guys have been playing hard and their spirits were great. They were trying and trying, but we just didn’t have it. We could’ve easily just put our head down and folded, but to take it from a 21-point lead down to five, that’s impressive and indicative of the competitive team we have. They fought until the end as tough as it was.”

 

Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr.:

On how this game demonstrated the team’s ability to fight out of a deficit: “We always do that no matter what the situation is. We’re going to fight; we’re not going to lay down for anybody. We’re not going to go out sad. I’m glad we brought it in the fourth, but we need to bring it earlier.”


On whether this loss is a wake-up call for the matchup with Boston: “Yeah, we have to come out stronger. Boston’s a good team, and especially at their crib, they’re going to be loud. Lot of good scorers there. So, just come out strong, throw the first punch, and keep it going.”

 

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant: 
On team’s performance: “They made shots. They had career nights. We missed shots… It’s just one of those nights, I guess. Nobody likes losing. That’s no good, but we are turning the page. We play in two days, travel and practice tomorrow, watch film and go into the next game as if tonight didn’t happen. I was in the bed for like three quarters. We got a spark in the fourth quarter, but we fell short.”


On the fourth-quarter run: “I think it shows our fight. We just kept playing until the buzzer sounded. They had some tough baskets late that sealed the win. I think we were down almost 30 points, and we cut it to like five points. It just shows our fight with the players we got. It just shows that we are going to compete and never give up.”

 

All Is Not Lost
While it is true that the Grizzlies lost Monday night, it shouldn't negate the progress we’ve seen from this team in the past 10 games. One thing fans should take comfort in is that the young squad continued to fight right up until the last possession.

 

Who Got Next:

After a six-game homestand, the Grizzlies are heading back on the road. First to Boston, where they will face off against the Celtics on Wednesday, and then off to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Friday.  

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Monday, January 20, 2020

The Next Generation Grizzlies Appear to Have Arrived

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 11:38 AM

Brandon Clarke against the Golden State Warriors
  • Brandon Clarke against the Golden State Warriors
Much to the surprise of pretty much everyone, this Grizzlies team has done a complete 180 from the team we saw at the start of the season.

Memphis has won eight of their last ten games and are now the proud owners of a league-high seven-game winning streak. For reference, the Grizzlies have not won seven consecutive games since 2015. Now they are sitting comfortably in the 8th seed, with no signs of slowing down. What a time to be alive.

The Kids Really Are Alright

It’s hard to overstate how special this has been — the group of young players who are making the team their own. If the future of the franchise is in their hands, the Memphis Grizzlies are going to be just fine.

Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke are the first- and second-best rookies in the league, respectively. Morant is a human highlight reel that makes his teammates better, with an incredibly high basketball IQ. Saying Morant should be the unanimous frontrunner for Rookie of the Year would be an understatement at this point. 




Clarke is just quietly good at almost everything, making a huge impact off the bench.
De’Anthony Melton has been incredibly valuable off the bench this season as well, currently averaging eight rebounds and six assists a game. Having a strong bench is especially important if one or more of your starters land in foul trouble during a game, a not unusual occurrence for the Grizzlies this season. 

Injury prevented him from having the sort of breakout rookie year he might have had otherwise, but Jaren Jackson is currently the fifth-best sophomore player in the league, and possibly one of the best shooting big men. He also leads the Grizzlies in total scoring this season with 729 points. 

Dillon Brooks is blossoming into the scoring threat we all hoped he would be. Brooks is tied with Morant as the Grizzlies second-best overall scorer, with 646 points to date. That the Grizzlies are undefeated when Brooks scores 20 or more is not a coincidence.


Can They Keep The Streak Alive?
The Grizzlies will finish up this six-game homestand on Monday, January 20th against the New Orleans Pelicans, as they go for their eighth-straight win. 

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Grizzlies Hold Off Cleveland for Seventh Straight Victory

Posted By on Sat, Jan 18, 2020 at 11:56 AM

The Memphis Grizzlies knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers 113–109 on Friday night at FedExForum to extend their winning streak to seven straight games. The last time Memphis won seven consecutive games was in the 2014–2015 season. The Grizzlies now have the longest active winning streak in the NBA. 

Dillon Brooks - LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSKI
  • Lawrence Kuzniewski
  • Dillon Brooks

The Grizzlies are now 20–22 on the season and in the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Memphis is three games back of the 7th seed held by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Memphis is 14–6 in their last 20 games, after starting the season 6–16.

Dillon Brooks was the catalyst for this team’s victory. The Grizzlies are 13–0 when Brooks scores 20 or more points this season. Brooks led Memphis with 26 points (9–16 FG, 4–7 3P). The Oregon product has connected on multiple 3-pointers in eight of the last nine games. "This is the longest winning streak I’ve ever been on since I got here," Brooks said after the game. "Jaren [Jackson, Jr,] and I were just talking, and I was telling him ‘That’s the longest streak I’ve ever been on.’ And he was telling me, like, ‘You’ve seen it all.’ Like I told him, the longest streak I’d been on was like three games. I’ve seen this group grow from when I first got here, seeing the fans coming to the arena more, and it’s a great feeling, makes you want to play harder every time out."

"It can become great," said Brooks about the team's growth. "Even with some guys with foul trouble, guys can pick up the load. Every time, it comes to guys like Melt [De’Anthony Melton], Grayson [Allen], Tyus [Jones], Kyle [Anderson]. Those guys are always ready, even when guys like me or Jaren are in foul trouble. Guys are ready to step up."


The anticipated Rookie of the year, Ja Morant, was sensational once again. In 33 minutes, Morant finished with 16 points, 7-of-14 from the field, eight assists, five rebounds, and three steals. Before the game, Morant was awarded his second Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for the month of December. More than a thousand fans from his alma mater, Murray State, were at the game.   




Brandon Clarke was a spark off the bench with 15 points, three assists, and two rebounds while going 6 of 8 from the field. Meanwhile, Grayson Allen added 11 points and two assists on 5-of-6 shooting as a reserve. 


The Other Guys
Cleveland was led by Collin Sexton, who finished with 28 points (11-of-25 shooting), plus six assists and four rebounds. Kevin Love added 19 points to go with nine rebounds and two assists. Love was limited to 0-of-6 from three. Larry Nance Jr. added 16 points, six rebounds, and two steals on 7-of-8 shooting as a reserve. Alfonzo McKinnie garnered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Cleveland. 

Tony Allen

Tony Allen is one of the Griz veterans whose future has yet to be decided. - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Tony Allen is one of the Griz veterans whose future has yet to be decided.

Before the game, Coach Taylor Jenkins confirmed that former Grizzlies guard Tony Allen is now a player development coach for the Memphis Hustle. Jenkins' statement:

“I am super excited. At the start of the year, Tony came to us and talked about his passion for the organization. When we sat down and he talked about how much he could not wait to get back, we tried to find a good opportunity. It took us some time to figure out what would make sense. Allowing him to dive into player development, which he is passionate about, we thought the Memphis Hustle would be a good avenue for him. He knows the game. He loves the game. We think he will be a great teacher of the game with the things that he does on his own. But to give back to the team that meant so much to him, it is going to be awesome to have him in the fold.”


Who Got Next
The Grizzlies will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a 4 p.m. tip. It will be broadcast regionally on FOX Sports Southeast and nationally on TNT. The game’s 15th annual Sports Legacy Award recipients will be former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes, former NBA stars Robert Parish and Caron Butler, and former NFL quarterback Doug Williams.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Grizzlies' Mid-Season Check-up

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 3:08 PM

At the beginning of the season, absolutely no one predicted the Memphis Grizzlies would be in playoff consideration. As of today, the Grizzlies are 19–22 on the season and in the 8th spot in the Western Conference. 

Ja Morant and Taylor Jenkins - LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSKI
  • Lawrence Kuzniewski
  • Ja Morant and Taylor Jenkins

The team was an afterthought for most around the league after trading Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz in the off-season. But Memphis is currently on a six-game win streak, a feat the team hasn’t accomplished since 2016. Shocker! 

This is a fun team and they are finding ways to win. Speaking of: “A lot of fun — it’s always fun to win,” rookie Ja Morant said after a huge win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. Morant added, “I’m having a lot of fun, enjoying every bit of it. Thankful and grateful to even be here to play for Memphis in front of this crowd with these guys. It’s a blessing.”

Who would have the audacity to think this young team would be any good and figuring out how to win so soon? Memphis’ last loss was a heartbreaker against the Sacramento Kings on January 2nd. 


Jae Crowder has provided value to the team with his veteran leadership, and he is a big part of the reason why this team is getting it done. After practice on Thursday afternoon, Crowder, the de facto locker room leader, says it’s a sense of urgency for the team in everything they do in practice, and with their attention to detail. Crowder said, “We have guys locked in right now, and it is paying off with wins, but we gotta stay the course and put our best foot forward every game.” One game at a time is his motto, and the elder statesman keeps preaching it to his teammates.

Crowder says it’s being like a proud father — seeing the growth of his teammates from the start of the season through 41 games. The Marquette product believes in accountability for himself, his teammates, and the coaching staff. 

Jae Crowder - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Jae Crowder

Crowder is not only a voice in the locker room but also a voice on the court. He says he tries to help the young guys on the floor when they make mistakes, and he says the veterans have look themselves in the mirror first — and walk the walk. 

Head Coach Taylor Jenkins is appreciative of Crowder on and off the court. After a recent game Jenkins said: “With him, the consistent quality is his leadership, and his communication with his teammates on the court and in the timeouts — even what is going on behind the scenes in the locker room — by what he is doing game in and game out getting the team together.”

Jenkins continued: “I lean on him a lot to communicate coverages or communicate to a player about a previous possession. He is just a great voice and another leader out there that can be an extension of me. He does it innately, which is awesome. He has done it at a high level. He knows what winning habits take and what they are. The fact that he is going out there and communicating and trying to showcase them as an example; it has been a great quality.”

Taylor Jenkins - NBA.COM
  • NBA.com
  • Taylor Jenkins

The first-year coach knows he has something to be proud of after 41 games of his rookie season. “We have been competing since Day 1 . We have been playing unselfish, and it was a struggle early, but we have gotten progressively better,” Jenkins said after the big win over the Rockets. 

Jenkins says he didn’t want to put himself or his team in a box, coming into the season. He wanted to focus on just competing, and he wanted his players to play as a team. He knew they team would figure it out eventually. 

The rookie coach added, “These guys come in and they embrace their mentality. It’s been at the forefront, so to be at the midway mark and to be 41 games in, we don’t even look at the records. Can we be that aggressive, disciplined, and unselfish team? We took huge steps, each game, these last couple of weeks, this last month. We are seeing some big-time growth individually, and that just translates into the team's growth.”

Jenkins believes that the team chemistry is a big part of their success. “I think our chemistry has been there for a majority of the season  —  we just hadn’t necessarily gotten the results. The consistency in our play has been there. We are playing with leads, playing from behind. The process in which we compete defensively and our execution of game plans is getting better. We definitely have our lapses here and there. Offensively, our unselfishness continues to be there, but it is consistent, too. Night in and night out, we are getting consistent production on both ends of the floor. Our bench has been huge for us the past couple of weeks. They are making impact with not only their scoring, but also rebounding and assisting especially. The fact that we are getting consistent play, the chemistry has been there. That has helped us get to this consistent stretch.”


One game at a time is how the Grizzlies are approaching the rest of the season. The players are aware that they have room to grow in the midst of the winning streak and know they can’t take any opponent lightly. Players just want to play basketball, have fun, and continue to win. Grizzlies fans need to continue to believe and enjoy the ride — because the future looks bright for these Memphis Grizzlies. 

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Grizzlies Down Warriors, 122–102

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 10:21 AM

Adjustments in the second half were the key to the Grizzlies' victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday evening before more than 16,000 fans at FedExForum.

The Grizzlies improved to 18–22 for the season and extended their win streak to a season-high five straight games. It's the team’s longest winning streak since November 2018.

LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSKI
  • Lawrence Kuzniewski

“They were fantastic tonight in the second half,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr about the Grizzlies’ second-half performance. “They are having a really special season, when you think about it. From where they started and it being Taylor’s [Jenkins] first year to where they are now and what they have done the last few weeks, it is really impressive.”

Kerr added, “Tonight was really about Memphis continuing their play. They are one of the best stories in the league this year. What they showed us tonight was a complete effort. They were well-coached. They play hard. They play for each other. They play together. It was a great game for them.”

Playing together has been the Grizzlies’ philosophy all season  —  only now it has started to resonate for the guys on the floor. And that didn’t go unnoticed by Kerr. He said he thought Memphis had more confidence on Sunday night than they did in the game on November 19th. Kerr continued: “Now you can see they believe in what they are doing  — they believe in themselves and each other. I think they are in the eight spot right now if I’m not mistaken, so they are playing for the playoffs, they’re playing for each other, and they’re on a great run.”

The Return of the Big Man
In a recent interview with a Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital patient, Jonas Valanciunas was asked what he would change about the NBA. Valanciunas said, “Bring back the big man.” On Sunday afternoon, he brought back the big man in a decisive way. 

Valanciunas led Memphis with 31 points and 19 rebounds, while going 13 of 17 from the field, plus two blocked shots. He scored 15 of his 31 points in the third quarter. “It was a team win  —  it was not just running a play for me or someone else, you just shoot the ball, play together, find the open man,” said the Lithuanian native. “As I said earlier, it’s fun to play that way. The ball was coming to my hands. Tonight was my night. Maybe the next night, it’s going to be someone else’s night. We play that way, so it’s to our advantage.”

The Grizzlies’ center added, “We have a lot of areas to work on, to grow and get better on, but we’ve started moving towards the right direction, so it’s fun. It’s good to see.”

LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSK
  • Lawrence Kuzniewsk

When asked if the team upcoming schedule was important, Valanciunas replied, “Every game is important to us. We play extremely hard. We’re trying to set a mentality that we’re the hardest-playing team on the court. Every second we are trying to play hard. Find a guy on the floor. That’s our mentality. Those good teams coming in, we’ve got to play hard against them.”

This was Valanciunas’ 20th double-double of the season and his second game of at least 30 points and 15 rebounds. Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke combined for 30 of the Grizzlies 60 rebounds. To top it off, the Grizzlies’ center even went 2 of 4 from deep. 


Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 points (8–15 FG, 3–6 3P) while adding five rebounds and two blocks. Jackson Jr. has made a three-pointer in 28 consecutive games, now the second-longest streak in Grizzlies franchise history (Tyreke Evans, 31 straight games in 2017–18). 

In 19 minutes, Clarke chipped in nine points, a career-high-tying 11 rebounds and two assists while Ja Morant gained his sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 assists plus seven rebounds in 30 minutes. After the game Morant talked about the team's new-found success. He said, “It’s just we’re learning. We’re learning from our mistakes in the past and just getting better each and every day.”

Off the bench, Grayson Allen finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while going 3 of 3 from beyond the arc. 

The Other Guys

The Warriors dropped to 9–32 on the season. D’Angelo Russell led Golden State with a game-high 34 points (12–24 FG, 5–9 3P), seven rebounds, and four assists in 35 minutes. This marked his ninth 30+ point game of the season. Jordan Poole chipped in 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists while Alec Burks added 13 points and six rebounds.


Notable Numbers
The Grizzlies have now scored 110+ points in 11 consecutive games, marking the longest streak in franchise history and the longest active streak in the NBA.

Golden State lost its eighth straight game, the Warriors’ longest losing streak since the 2011–12 season.

Memphis out-rebounded Golden State 60–47 on the night, marking a new season-high for the Grizzlies. The previous season high was 56 on October 25th against the Bulls. The Grizzlies also garnered a new season-high for offensive rebounds in a game with 18. The previous season best was against the Miami Heat on December 16th. 

This is the fifth time in franchise history the team has grabbed 60-plus rebounds and the first time in a regulation game since February 9, 2009 vs New Orleans. The franchise record is 64. 

Memphis, which leads the league in points in the paint per game, recorded its 14th game this season with at least 60 paint points. The Grizzlies scored 62 points in the paint while the Warriors only scored 26. 

Memphis outscored Golden State 37–14 in fast break points, including 12–0 in the first quarter.

The Grizzlies bench outscored the Warriors bench 47–32 on the night.

Quotes from Jaren Jackson, Jr.
On how much the team has changed since last season: “It’s a blessing. You take it for what it’s worth. You understand that it’s because of the work that you’re putting in and you just take every game, enjoy the moment, and you move on. But, in that moment, you just thank God for putting you in the position you’re in to play on a team in which everybody’s personalities are meshing and where everybody is just serving one another to try to get everyone better.”

On the team’s ability to close out games:

“That’s the NBA, so I don’t really get nervous like that anymore about leads. I just know if we keep playing the right way, we’ll be fine, but once I see us getting out of character, that’s when you’ve got to dial back in and focus.”

On the Grizzlies’ ability to pull away in the second half of games:

“It’s the third quarters. We just put an emphasis on it to make sure we correct all the mistakes from the first half. We definitely come in (the locker room) and talk about little things, so we just try to replicate that and just correct all of the mistakes.”

Who Got Next
The Grizzlies continue their homestand against the James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday at FedExForum. Tip-off at 7 pm CST. 

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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Real Talk: About the Grizzlies and the Playoffs

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 5:29 PM

As the Grizzlies continue to improve in the standings and other Western Conference teams fall short, there has begun to be some buzz about Memphis making a playoff push. This would be a terrible idea, as I will explain further.
dialogue.jpg

For reference, currently the Grizzlies are 9th in the WC standings, one game back from the 8th seed.

The Grizzlies are going through a real, honest-to-God rebuild. With new front office decision makers and a new head coach, this team is finally in a position to execute a successful rebuild.
There is a young, dynamic core of exciting players to build around, and in many ways the future is looking brighter for this franchise than it ever has. Which is all the more reason why this process shouldn’t be rushed.

The 2019-2020 Memphis Grizzlies are a very young team, green behind the ears and still learning how to play together. They are still building chemistry and learning how to put together four complete quarters of basketball in the same game. It isn’t always pretty to watch, but this is a very good thing. It is exactly what they are supposed to be doing at this point in the rebuilding process.

But What About the Boston Pick?
Well … what about it? The first-round pick that we still owe to Boston is top-6 protected this year and while it would not be wise to lose deliberately, chances are the Grizzlies will organically end up a lottery team again this summer. Which allows the possibility of ending up with another very good draft pick this summer.

Yes, said pick is unprotected after this year, but the likelihood that the Grizzlies will end up as even the 8th seed is much greater next year. If that is the case, Memphis could potentially convey a pick that is outside the top-10 in 2021.

The Bottom Line
The playoffs should not be a goal for this Grizzlies team until they have developed enough to sustain a deep run. End of discussion.
As it stands right now, even if they did end up in the 8th seed, it is very unlikely they would make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Which makes the risk of injury too great, with the potential for a reward (or even a second-round series) much too small.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Grizzlies Thump Timberwolves; Sweep Season Series

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2020 at 1:28 PM

After a sluggish start, the Grizzlies overcame their largest deficit of the season with a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 119–112, at FedExForum Tuesday. The Grizzlies have won three in a row and improved to 16–22 on the season. 

Dillon Brooks - LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSKI
  • Lawrence Kuzniewski
  • Dillon Brooks

The Grizzlies have scored 110 or more points in nine straight games, marking the longest such streak in franchise history and the longest active streak in the NBA.

“What a game; obviously a great comeback win for us,” Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Jenkins said about his team’s fourth-quarter comeback. “Didn’t start off with the edge that we needed to [have], which we had seen the last couple of games. Defense wasn’t there pretty much in the first half, maybe even until the start of the second half, but we just found a way, picked it up. To end up with 12 steals, six blocked shots — obviously Jae [Crowder] set the tone for us with five steals. JJ [Jaren Jackson Jr.] continuing to block shots, three blocks. You go down the whole roster: starters, guys off the bench, [all with] three, four-plus rebounds. Obviously we started making some shots in that second half."

Jenkins added, “I told the guys, ‘You know, they’re playing great in the first half, we just didn’t have it in the first half. We’re down five — we’ve got to pick up our urgency, pick up our aggressiveness on the defensive end.’ They’re hitting some good shots, they’re hitting some tough shots. Found a way to just get some more impactful plays on the defensive end. Just a huge run there in the fourth quarter. Obviously winning the third quarter was huge, being [that we were] down at halftime. One of our better come-from-behind wins this season. We talked about before the game [about] getting back in front of our home fans, about how the building was rocking in that fourth quarter. It wasn’t just the made shots.”

“When JJ hit that big three[-pointer], the crowd erupts, they call timeout,” Jenkins went on to say about his team’s late-game heroics. “But you could just sense our crowd just continue to stay behind us all game, especially when we were getting some big stops. The Timberwolves gave us a heck of a game for 48 minutes, it came down to the wire. Proud of the execution in that fourth quarter against some different coverages. Ja [Morant] with some big plays, JJ with some big plays, other guys with some big plays, really stepping up as well.”

Memphis recorded its 13th game this season with at least 60 paint points. The team leads the league in points in the paint per game. 

“They are a team that plays with confidence, no matter of being up, being down — I give them credit,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said about the Grizzlies’ fourth-quarter push. “I think Taylor [Jenkins] is a very good coach too. I give that staff credit for having them ready and keeping them in. They got physical with us offensively and defensively, I thought. We just didn’t do a good job coming up with defensive rebounds,as well.”

The Grizzlies are 10–0 this season when third-year guard Dillon Brooks scores 20-or-more points. Brooks led the way for the Grizzlies with 28 points off of 11-of-20 from the field and 2-of-4 from deep to go along with three rebounds and a steal. 

During their three-game sweep of the Timberwolves this season, the former Oregon standout has averaged 28.3 points, while shooting 53.7 percent from the floor and 68.8 percent from deep.

Jaren Jackson Jr. became the first player in NBA history to record at least three 3-pointers and three blocks in three straight games. Jackson ended the night with 21 points and seven rebounds, along with those three blocks. Jackson began the final period 1 of 7 from the three point line, but went 3 for 3 in the fourth period, including 2 clutch threes to seal the victory. The Michigan alum has now made multiple three-pointers in 10 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Grizzlies franchise history 

“We had to lock in and make sure we went out in the second half, brought some more energy,” said rookie guard Ja Morant. “Like Jae [Crowder] started back for us, layups, got us going a little bit. We had to ramp it up even more, get some stops to be able to come out with a win.” Morant finished the game with 25 points (12–18 FG), seven assists, and four rebounds. This marked Morant’s 15th game with at least 20 points and five assists (tied for seventh-most in the Western Conference).

Crowder tallied 14 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high-tying five steals. Crowder tied for the most steals from any Grizzlies player this season. Morant had 5 steals on November 23 against the Lakers.

De’Anthony Melton chipped in six points, four rebounds, and an assist off the bench for Memphis. Melton now has a +76 plus-minus in 132 minutes over his last seven games, including a +24 in 21 minutes in the win over the Timberwolves.


The Other Guys

Jarrett Culver had a career night for the Timberwolves as he finished with a season-high 24 points (8–11 FG, 3–5 3P) along with five rebounds and two steals. Jeff Teague had 18 points, six assists, and two steals in 29 minutes off the bench. Robert Covington added 17 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Andrew Wiggins tallied 15 points, four rebounds, and two assists as Minnesota dropped to 14–22 on the season.

Quotes from Grizzlies veteran forward Jae Crowder

On getting a win after a long road trip:

“Me being in the league this long, I’ve realized that when you come off a West Coast road trip like that, usually, probably 75-80 percent of the time you lose that game. That’s a tough game to play, the first one back home, fresh off a road trip. We dug in deep and found a way and got a win today on our home court.”

On beating Minnesota:

“It speaks volumes to our growth. I think we’ve done a good job of growing each and every game — win, lose or draw. We’re doing a good job of watching film, trying to get better, trying to make the right plays on both ends of the court. I think all our guys are on the same page, more times than not, when we’re on the court and that’s a sign of a good team, a good team growing and trying to do the right thing.”

On how habits and attitudes have changed over the last two weeks:

“Our guys are just on the same page. We’re trying to buy into the team. Obviously, there’s a lot of different ages on our team, so we’re just trying to come together, continue to grow from each and every game, and continue to learn.”

On if there’s anything holding the Grizzlies back from being a playoff-caliber team:

“We’re going to take it one game at a time. A young team, I don’t want to get too excited. Obviously, we’re right there where we need to be to gain ground in the playoffs, but we have to take it one game at a time. We did a good job on our road trip, taking it one game at a time, bouncing back from a tough loss in Sacramento and winning the last two. We have a good stretch at home, so hopefully we’ll take it one game at a time and see where we fall.”

On being a veteran:

“I’ve been in this situation before. Obviously, our team was counted out and we’re surprising people with wins here lately. I really feel like that’s the message we should preach, is to just take it one game at a time and let the chips fall where they fall.”

On surprising teams:

“I’ve been the underdog my whole life, so I’m in familiar territory here. I’ve not been a high draft pick or nothing like that. I’m just a guy who comes to work each and every day. I think our team has taken on that identity. We’re not buying into the hype of the media. Obviously, we got counted out early as not a playoff team, but you’ve got to play basketball in this league and that’s what we’ve been doing. We’re trying to get better each and every night.”

Up Next

The Grizzlies continue their home-stand against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night at FedExForum. The Grizzlies are only a half-game back of the Spurs in the Western Conference for the eighth playoff spot. Tip off is at 7 pm CST. 

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Grizzlies Beat Suns: Win Second in a Row on the Road

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 11:32 AM

Memphis went 2–0 on a road back-to-back as they held off the Phoenix Suns 121-114 on Sunday night. The Grizzlies shot 54.2 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc. Memphis also recorded a new single-season franchise record with 30 or more assists for the 14th time this season. The Grizzlies entered the night ranked second in the NBA in assists per game, behind only the Suns. Memphis won the assist battle against Phoenix 31-25. 

Jonas Valanciunas
  • Jonas Valanciunas

Jonas Valanciunas was the high scorer for Memphis with 30 points, including 14 in the first quarter, when he finished with 5-of-5 from the field and 2-of-2 from three-point range. “I’m just trying to get some open buckets,” the seven-year center said about his big game. “We’re trying to execute, get some open shots. Spacing is a big key for me so yeah, I was just trying to find my role.”

Valanciunas added eight rebounds and four assists (12-16 FG, 3-4 3P). It was his seventh career 30-point game and his second this season. 

Dillon Brooks scored 19 points to go with four rebounds and two assists on the night. Brooks went 5 of 11 from the 3-point line.

The Grizzlies shot 18-of-42 from three-point range, matching the 18 they made against the LA Clippers in a win on Saturday afternoon. It was the first time the Grizzlies have made at least 18 three-pointers in back-to-back games in franchise history.

Jaren Jackson Jr. added 15 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Ja Morant finished with 13 points and seven assists. The Grizzlies bench was led by Brandon Clarke and Solomon Hill, who both tallied 10 points. The Grizzlies’ reserves outscored the Suns second unit 41-25.

Phoenix was led by Devin Booker, who knocked down 40 points and added six assists and two rebounds. Booker became the first player in Suns history to post 30-or-more points in four consecutive games. Kelly Oubre Jr. notched a double-double for Phoenix with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists. Deandre Ayton also recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. 

Memphis is now 15–22 for the season and a half game back on the San Antonio Spurs for the eight spot in the Western Conference. Don’t look now, but the Grizzlies may very well be playing for playoff contention if they can keep putting things together. 

Quotes from Taylor Jenkins
“Proud of the guys  —  tough start to the road trip, but to come away with back to back wins against good teams,” said the first year coach. “I’m impressed with our guys, really proud of the defensive activity, that’s the reason why we’re able to build these 20-point leads.” 

Jenkins went on to say, “We've got to find ways to get better. Credit to our guys, it got a little scary there in the end, in the fourth, but we just find a way to execute against their pressure, come up with some big stops down the stretch. The unselfishness, which is what I keep continuing to talk about, 31 assists.” 

“Obviously, guys are shooting the ball great but when the ball is moving around and we’re backing up our defensive activity with this great offensive play, it’s awesome,” Jenkins continued. “I told the guys we’ve just got to find ways to get better, especially when we build those leads, we know teams are going to give a great charge. Credit the Suns, they kept fighting. They’re a heck of a team, but I'm proud of our guys coming away with a big road win.”

Who got next
The Grizzlies will return home for a six-game home stand, on Tuesday January 7th to face the Minnesota Timberwolves inside FedExForum. Tip-Off at 7pm CST. 

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Morant Does It Again! December Rookie of the Month

Posted By on Thu, Jan 2, 2020 at 9:39 PM

Memphis guard Ja Morant was named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in December. Morant is the first player in franchise history to be honored with back-to-back Rookie of the Month awards. The South Carolina native previously was honored for October and November, making December a trifecta. 

According to the Grizzlies, “The second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Morant led all qualifying rookies in December in scoring average (15.5 points) and assists per game (6.5) and posted shooting percentages of 48.5 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three-point range and 83.7 percent from the free-throw line. Memphis posted a 7–4 record in Morant’s 11 December appearances (all starts).”

We all remember when he posterized Aron Bynes and nearly ended Kevin Love’s professional playing career by jumping over his head. Check out these:





 More December highlights:




Here's what Morant and Coach Jenkins had to say about this back to back honor:


The Murray State alum leads all rookies in scoring and assists per game this season, with 17.4 points and 6.5 assists. Morant also ranked 10th in All-Star voting among Western Conference guards in fan voting returns in the NBA All-Star Voting presented by Google. 

Morant’s playing style has attracted national attention from sportswriters and casual fans. To my knowledge, I don’t believe a Grizzlie player has garnered this type of attention nationally. Morant already has name recognition. When he makes a ridiculous pass, break ankles, make defenders look lost, almost dunks and posterizes opponents, he trends on social media. 

Here’s what Pete Pranica, Grizzlies play-by-play announcer had to say about the first-year guard on Twitter: 

Morant is a special talent and almost everyone knows it. The future looks bright for Morant, and for the Grizzlies. 

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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

5 Resolutions the Grizzlies Should Make in 2020

Posted By on Wed, Jan 1, 2020 at 5:55 PM

It's a new year, a new decade, and a new era in Memphis Grizzlies basketball.

Gone are the days of Grit and Grind. Now is the time of #GRZNXTGEN
  • Gone are the days of Grit and Grind. Now is the time of #GRZNXTGEN


In honor of the new year, here are some tips to help this fledgling team learn, grow, and be their best selves in 2020.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Turnovers?
It is a key question that the players and coaching staff alike need to be asking themselves. To make matters more complicated, this is an issue with many facets that will require more than one solution.

Memphis ranks fifth in the league in turnovers per game (15.9) and opposing teams typically do much better at converting those turnovers into points on the other end of the floor. The Grizzlies need to reduce the number of turnovers they commit, they need to work harder to reduce the number of points their opponents score off those turnovers, and do a better job of capitalizing on their opponent's turnovers.


Defend Without Fouling

This is directed at the whole team, however, two specific players come to mind here: 

Jaren Jackson Jr. leads the league in fouls committed per game, and his getting into trouble early with careless fouls has come back to bite the team in more than one game. When one of your team’s best players is unable to play in crunch time because he committed a bunch of early fouls, that is a problem. 
Dillon Brooks is not far behind Jackson, ranking fifth in fouls committed per game. His propensity to commit fouls when he is frustrated is something else that needs to be addressed.



And for the love of all that is good and holy in this world please STOP FOULING THREE-POINT SHOOTERS.

gbk13pt.jpg


YGTMYFT (You've got to make your free throws)

Here is some food for thought about the free-throw situation.
As of January 1st, the Grizzlies have:  

The second-fewest average free throw attempts per game (19.9)
The fourth-lowest average in personal fouls drawn per game (19.5)  

A middle-of-the-pack free throw percentage per game average (77.5)  

 

Memphis averages third in points in the paint per game (50.2), just below the Los Angeles Lakers (51.6) and the Milwaukee Bucks (54.6), yet those two teams consistently average more free throw attempts than the Grizzlies. While the number of free throw attempts isn’t something that can be directly influenced, how many of those shots the Grizzlies make is within their control. 


Stay Helpful 

I saved this one for last so that I could end this on a positive note. Currently, the Grizzlies are ranked second in the league in assists per game (27.2), a sign of unselfish basketball.  Great job! Keep that up.

8fc.jpg

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Grizzlies Fall Short Against Denver, 119-110

Posted By on Sun, Dec 29, 2019 at 1:02 PM

On Saturday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, the Memphis Grizzlies couldn’t get over the hump after scoring just 11 points in the first quarter against the Nuggets. Denver pulled off the victory 119–110. 

The Nuggets improved to 22–9 on the season, while Memphis fell to 12–21. Denver has won eight of its last nine games. The Grizzlies have lost four straight to Denver, overall. 

The Nuggets were up by many as 23 points in the first half before the Grizzlies went on a rally to tighten the game. After scoring just 39 points in the first half, Memphis put up 71 points in the second, but it was not enough to overtake Denver.

Nikola Jokic - NBA.COM
  • NBA.com
  • Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic garnered his seventh triple-double of the season, with a season-high 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, before fouling out of the game late in the final period.  Jokic now has 35 career triple-doubles.

Jokic wasn't pleased about giving up a lot of points to the Grizzlies in the second half. "In the first quarter, they score 11 points and in the fourth, they score 42,” said Jokic. “It’s a huge difference. We have to be focused on closing the halves, closing the quarters, closing the games. The fourth quarter is the time our defense needs to be the best; it wasn't tonight, but we won the game, which is the most important thing."

Other Denver contributors included former University of Memphis standout, Will Barton, who put up 20 points, seven assists, six rebounds, plus two steals in 36 minutes of play. Mason Plumlee started in his first game of the season for the Nuggets and scored 15 points, with seven rebounds, in 20 minutes. Jamal Murray added 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists. 

Denver won the points in the paint battle, 66–58 (+8)

Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 20 points and four rebounds. Jackson discussed how the Grizzlies were able to get back in the game after being down by 23 points: “A lot of better ball movement and a lot of side-to-side play. When we trust our ball movement and trust our pick-and-rolls, we just have much more action with more rhythm, and everyone gets open looks.”

Jackson also discussed how it was to match up with Jokic. “He’s really strong  —  he’s really going to cause some problems,” Jackson added. “He’s a really good passer, too. It’s kind of pick your poison with him when he’s hitting the three-ball. You’ve got to make sure you take one thing away and I definitely didn’t do a good job of that tonight. I definitely could have been better. He’s a good player.”

De’Anthony Melton had 17 points and four rebounds off the bench. Ja Morant tallied 16 points and eight assists. Brandon Clarke added 15 points and five assists while going 6-of-8 from the field. 

Jonas Valanciunas scored 14 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes for his 17th double-double of the season. It’s his fourth game of the season with 14+ points, 10+ rebounds and two made three-pointers. 


Game Quotes
Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins

On what went wrong:
“Obviously, it was a tough first quarter for us. We were not able to get a lot of shots to fall, both layups and threes, during the first quarter and a half. But, I love our resolve. Our guys were great at half-time and making a run to close out the second quarter. We cut it to three at one point in the third. It got back to seven in the 4th quarter and they made a run. So, for our guys to come in here and compete like that and come up short is obviously unfortunate. But, I’m proud of a lot of things we did tonight.”

On fatigue being a factor once the team came back:

“No, I think our guys were competing at a high level. They made the plays down the stretch, so credit to the Nuggets. They had some offensive rebounds that they came away with, and a couple late passes here and there. They also had some big-time shots, but I think our effort was great for 48 minutes.”

Up Next

The Grizzlies return home to host the Charlotte Hornets in the FedExForum on Sunday night. Tip-off is at 7 pm CST. 

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Boxing Day Beatdown: Grizzlies Thrash Thunder 110–97

Posted By on Sat, Dec 28, 2019 at 6:33 AM

Jonas Valanciunas - SHARON BROWN
  • Sharon Brown
  • Jonas Valanciunas


Revenge can be sweet, as demonstrated by the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was the second meeting of these two teams in just over a week, and the outcomes could not have been more dissimilar.

During their December 18th matchup, the Thunder overcame a 24-point deficit to defeat the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies returned the favor and then some when the team returned to Oklahoma City the day after Christmas.


The young Memphis team finished the night with five players scoring in double-digits. Jonas Valanciunas scored a team-high 21 points, with 4 rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr. followed closely, finishing the night with 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Ja Morant had a quiet offensive night, scoring just 10 points, but the rookie point guard also contributed 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Jae Crowder continued to struggle offensively, finishing the night with 5 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. 

Battle of the Benches

The Grizzlies continue to get meaningful production from their bench players, who outscored the Thunder bench 46-28. Tyus Jones and Brandon Clarke led the second unit in scoring with 15 points and 13 points respectively.  

 

A Good Showing, but Still a Work in Progress

The good: Memphis won the rebounding battle 50-34

The bad: Memphis also “won” the turnover battle 16-9, with the Thunder scoring 22 points off Grizzlies turnovers. Moving forward, reducing the number of turnovers needs to be a priority, as well as closing out quarters properly. 

 

Who Got Next? The Grizzlies continue their road trip, and will face off against the Nuggets in Denver on Saturday, December 28th.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Spurs Wallop Grizzlies, 145-115

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2019 at 1:09 PM

Monday, it just wasn’t the Grizzlies' night. Efficient shooting from the Spurs was too much for Memphis to overcome, as the Spurs trounced the home team, 145–115. 

In the first quarter, the Spurs shot 79.2 (19–of-24) percent from the field and went 6 of 7 from three (85.7 percent) and scored a season-high 46 points. The Spurs only missed five shots in the first period. 

Lamarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 40 points, and was red-hot from the field in the first period, scoring 22 points while shooting 10–13 from the field. When Aldridge finally missed, cheers erupted at the FedExForum. The Seven-time All-Star was 17 of 25 from the floor for the night, and earned the eighth 40-plus-point game of his career. 

DeMar DeRozan also almost had a perfect night for the Spurs. The former USC guard went 10-of-11 from the field and ended with 26 points, 10 assists, and three steals. 

“When the shot is dropping, he’s unstoppable,” said DeRozan on Aldridge's big night. “We were able to get everything we wanted from there, guys cutting, finding spots, because they (the Grizzlies) were so worried about trying to play the one on one. We all just caught the rhythm from there”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was pleased with his team’s effort. “He (Aldridge) and DeMar (DeRozan) led the way tonight, said Popovich. “It was great to see the whole team jump in. We had a bad game last game. This is the way you react to something like that. I was really proud and happy for them.”

Jaren Jackson, Jr. led the way for Memphis with 22 points, going 8-of-14 from the field and 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. Jackson has hit five or more 3-pointers in five games this season. Ja Morant added 19 points and four assists in 30 minutes. Jonas Valanciunas posted his 16 double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 


Notable Stats

The Spurs’ 145 points were the most points ever allowed by the Grizzlies. The previous high for points allowed was 141, scored by the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 30, 2017.

San Antonio shot 67.4 percent from the field, which is the best total-game shooting percentage in the NBA this season. 

Both the Grizzlies and the Spurs finished with double-digit three-pointers. Memphis went 15-of-37 (47 percent) and San Antonio 15-of-24 (62 percent).

The Spurs won the points in the paint battle against Memphis 60–56 (+4).

The Grizzlies outscored the Spurs in second-chance points 21–7 (+14).

Rebounding was an issue for the Grizzlies, Spurs had a +11 advantage, 46–35. However, the Grizzlies had more offensive rebounds, 11–4. 


Quotes from Ja Morant

On tonight’s game:

“They shot the ball great. I think they were about 60 percent. Some shots were contested, some weren’t. Any game we can get better, though.”

On defending the Spurs:

“They have a lot of shooters. And all shot it great. It’s hard when they’re hitting a lot of shots. That kind of hurt us on the offensive end when we’re not able to get out and run and get in transition. It’s tough. We just have to learn from it.”

On the Spurs’ pace:

“It was just calm. Sometimes they push. They were just real smart with the ball tonight. They were just capitalizing on our mistakes defensively. It was a great night for them.”

On if he assumes Jaren Jackson Jr. will make three-pointers:

“Yeah, that’s with anybody on my team. I believe in everybody unless I’m already under the goal. Most of the time in my mind, I believe it’s going in. If they miss, they all probably can tell you that I say the next one is going in. It’s just my mindset, my motto  —  just keep shooting and believe in every shot.”

On why it’s rare for the Grizzlies to lose by a big margin:

“I think it goes to them on their shooting night. It’s rare for a team to shoot [the way] they shot tonight. That allowed them to win by 30.”

Rookie of the Month Honors

Before the game, Morant received his Rookie of the Month honors for October and November. 

The award means a lot for the first-year player. "It’s special  —  I had to shy away from it real quick because it was game time, Morant said of his award after the game. "It’s a special thing. A couple years ago, who would’ve thought I would be in this position right now to even win that award? My family and I have been through a lot, overcome a lot. I just kept pushing. Nobody allowed me to quit and I didn’t allow myself to quit. It shows that hard work pays off."

Up Next

The Grizzlies travel to Oklahoma City for a rematch with the Thunder Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 7 pm CST at Chesapeake Energy Arena. 

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

No Cool Points: Grizzlies Fall to Cleveland 114-107

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

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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