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.
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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.

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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.

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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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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Amid Second Half Woes, Grizzlies Fall to Thunder 126-122

Posted By on Thu, Dec 19, 2019 at 8:12 PM

1r7pco.jpg

The Grizzlies' loss to Oklahoma City Wednesday night was easily the most frustrating loss of the season, and unfortunately, it overshadowed the best game of Brandon Clarke’s young NBA career.

Props to OKC because they clearly just wanted this win more, coming back from a 24-point deficit and wearing the Grizzlies down, to take a 126-122 win in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder also had an unexpected X factor — Dennis Schroder, who led all scorers with 31 points, 22 of which came in the second half.


By the numbers:

    *      Brandon Clarke finished the night with a career-high 27 points, 7 rebounds.

  • Jonas Valanciunas had another monster game offensively, with 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. 
  • Ja Morant scored 22 points, along with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. 
  • Dillon Brooks finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists, shooting 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. 


What went wrong?

While the Grizzlies have notably struggled during 3rd quarters this season, it was in the 4th quarter where the proverbial wheels fell completely off Wednesday night. Things started going downhill towards the end of the 3rd quarter, when the Thunder went on a 19-5 run, capped off with a buzzer-beater by guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Thunder followed that up by outscoring the Grizzlies by 11 points in the 4th quarter.

A few more of the factors that contributed to this dumpster fire of a loss:

  • Turnovers, foul trouble, and free throws.
  • Eight Grizzlies turnovers in the 4th quarter led to 10 points for the Thunder.
    Meanwhile, the Grizzlies only managed to score two points off of four OKC turnovers.
  • Memphis getting into the penalty with five minutes left in the game.
  • OKC shot and made ten free throws in the 4th; Memphis made 2-of-4 free throws.
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. In foul trouble and benched two minutes into the 4th quarter.
  • Ja Morant missing two critical free throws with 1:19 remaining in the game.
  • Poor coaching decisions through the final 10 minutes of the game.
The foul call against Jaren Jackson Jr. at the 10:12 mark should have been contested by Coach Taylor Jenkins. Jackson was called for his 5th personal foul against Thunder center Steven Adams, even though the replay video appeared to show Adams tripping over his own foot.

This is exactly the sort of play where the coach’s challenge should have been utilized. If not on that one, certainly on another bad call on ball possession at the 9:02 mark, which allowed OKC an extra possession which led to a field goal.

Understandably, Jackson was subbed out for Jonas Valanciunas after that 5th personal foul, but it made absolutely zero sense for him to sit the entire rest of the game. There is no universe in which Solomon Hill should be on the floor in a close game situation while Jackson still has one foul remaining.

Let's hope this was a learning experience for Jenkins as well as the team.

Who Got Next?

The Grizzlies are headed to Cleveland to face off against the Cavaliers Friday, December 20th, at 6 p.m. CST.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Grizzlies Cool the Heat, 118-111

Posted By on Tue, Dec 17, 2019 at 10:05 AM

A balanced attack led by Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant helped the Memphis Grizzlies secure a 118-111 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday night at FedExForum. The Grizzlies have now won four out of their last five games, including back-to-back games at home. 

Jonas Valanciunas - SHARON BROWN
  • Sharon Brown
  • Jonas Valanciunas

“This team has been playing extremely well,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about the Grizzlies after the matchup. “They have a lot of young talent that is growing and getting better as the season is going on. They got in such an incredible rhythm in that first half. Might have been our worst defensive half of the season. Finishing plays, basically all across the board, it was pretty uninspiring.”

Spoelstra added, “We picked up our activity level in the second half and fourth quarter. A little of that was maybe due to the zone [defense]. It was still back-breaking second chance opportunities that really hurt us.”

The Grizzlies shot an astounding 65.9 percent (27–41) and 68.8 percent (11–16) from three to garner a season-high 73 points in the first half. 

A zone defense in the second half by the Heat slowed the Grizzlies’ offensive output. Memphis went 2-of-20 in the second half from the three-point line and 15-of-45 from the field. 

After being down by many as 17, the Heat bounced back to take the lead 105-104, with 5:57 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, the Grizzlies closed out on a 14–4 run to seal the victory.

Valanciunas posted his 14th double-double of the season, finishing with a team-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, plus two blocks, while going 8-of-9 from the field. Memphis had six players in double figures. 

Morant ended with 20 points and 10 assists to complete his fourth double-double of the season. After the game, the Grizzlies’ rookie said, “We just learned. I feel like we’ve lost a lot of games late in the 4th quarter up 10 [points], and the other team would go on a run and we just weren’t able to bounce back from it. We were just able to learn from our mistakes, go back with a run of our own, and finish the game off.”

Jaren Jackson, Jr. converted on 5 of 11 of his three-point shots and tallied 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. 

Bench play

De’Anthony Melton continues to make his case for more playing time. Melton had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. He was a +12 on the night. Melton talked about his newfound role with the team, “ It’s fun to play. It’s fun to get out there with my team and compete, battle with them. I’m having a blast. I think it’s a great group, and you know, we all love each other and we’re all having fun with it.”

Brandon Clarke had another efficient night, going 5-of-9 from the field, with 14 points and nine rebounds on the night. 

Melton and Clarke combined for seven of the Grizzlies’ season-high 16 offensive rebounds. 

The other guys

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 25 points, eight assists, and four rebounds. Rookie sensation Tyler Herro finished with 22 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Kendrick Nunn added 18 points and three assists. 

Miami entered the game 10–0 against sub-.500 teams, and Monday night was their first loss in such games. 


Quotes from De’Anthony Melton

On the win:

“We battled. We were just battling out there. We know we can play with anybody, so we just went out there, played together, played hard, helped each other out, and came out with the dub [win].”

On playing a lot alongside Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and Ja Morant:

“Athleticism, athleticism, you know. Quick up-and-down, blocking shots, getting steals, dunks, all that. We’re just having fun, like I said, with all that athleticism out there.”

On the flipped dynamic where he is often a six-foot-three rebounder and Jaren Jackson Jr. is a six-foot-eleven shooter:

“I mean, he thinks he’s Melo [Carmelo Anthony], so there’s that. But [Jaren] has been shooting it great. [I’m] always finding him, and he’s been hitting [shots], so why not?”

On whether he enjoys surprising people with his rebounding ability:

“Yeah, I mean, it’s part of my game. I like to go out there, play hard, get second, third opportunities for my team. It pays off sometimes, like today  —  it paid off.”

Up Next

The Grizzlies head to Oklahoma City to take on Steven Adams and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, Dec 18th. Tip-Off is at 7 pm CST in Chesapeake Energy Arena. 

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Quarter Season Progress Report, Part Two: Hope on Board

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 9:03 AM

Jae Crowder - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Jae Crowder

This is part two of a three-part series of player progress reports from the first quarter of the season. You can read part one here.

Dillon Brooks - So far Brooks appears to have bounced back well after missing most of last season due to injury. He’s had some tremendous shooting games, and the Grizzlies are undefeated this season when Brooks scores 20 or more points. These are all good things and should be celebrated as such. However, inconsistency in scoring is still an issue with Brooks, as is the number of fouls he’s amassing. None of this is so dire as to make him a liability, at least not yet. His potential far outweighs his shortcomings. B  

 

Jae Crowder - Crowder has been the face of veteran leadership for the Grizzlies, in addition to playing the largest number of minutes of any player on the roster. He does a lot of things well, better than perhaps was expected. Even on the nights that he’s not producing a ton of points, he’s obviously putting in a lot of effort in other ways. His game-winning bucket against the Brooklyn Nets brought the Grizzlies their first victory of the season, and it was just his second made shot of the game. Crowder also has the second-highest number of rebounds for the Grizzlies this season and the third-highest number of assists. Bossman, indeed. A

 

Solomon Hill - Any evaluation of Hill must also come with the knowledge that his arrival in the Bluff City facilitated the departure of Chandler Parsons and his albatross of a contract. For that alone, I’m willing to give him a key to the city. On a team as young and green as the Grizzlies are currently, there is value in having experienced players on the roster. As it stands, Hill has outperformed expectations and offered real contributions on the court. All in all, the Grizzlies are getting more from Hill than just salary cap relief. Given the context in which he was acquired, any actual basketball accomplishments are a bonus.

Jonas Valanciunas - The Lithuanian big man is the sole remaining player acquired from the trade that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto last year. Valanciunas has been the picture of doing more with less for the Grizzlies this season. His minutes per game are lower than they were last year after he joined the Grizzlies, but his shooting percentages are higher. As the team’s primary rebounder, I would like to see Valanciunas having more double-digit rebound games. But for a team in the earliest stages of a rebuild, with a new coach and multiple inexperienced players, the Grizzlies are getting their money’s worth out of him so far this season. A

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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Grizzlies Trounce Wizards, Break Home Losing Streak

Posted By on Sun, Dec 15, 2019 at 5:26 PM

Brandon Clarke posterizes Ian Mahinmi - VIA MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES TWITTER
  • via Memphis Grizzlies twitter
  • Brandon Clarke posterizes Ian Mahinmi


Coming on the heels of a disappointing loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Grizzlies roared back with a 128-111 victory against the Washington Wizards Saturday night. The win also snapped a 7-game losing streak on their home court.

#GrzNxtGen: The Future is Bright

Saturday night’s game against the Wizards was a glimpse into the future of the franchise, and a young core who are still a long way from their respective ceilings. Even beloved former Grizzlies legend Tony Allen, aka the Grindfather, has taken notice:


Dillon Brooks led the Grizzlies in scoring with a team-high 29 points, but arguably the most outstanding performance of the night came from rookie forward Brandon Clarke.

Clarke scored a career-high 25 points, shooting 11-of-14 from the floor, while also providing some absolute gems for a highlight reel, including this play in the 2nd quarter where Clarke put Wizards center
Ian Mahinmi on a poster.


Jaren Jackson Jr. closed out the night with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Ja Morant finished with 18 points and 5 assists, on 5-of-11 shooting. 

 

Jae Crowder was benched for the night with a sore left ankle, so Kyle Anderson took on the role of starting small forward in his stead. Scoring just two points, Anderson’s personal offensive contribution was minimal, but he still made his presence felt with five rebounds and five assists. One such assist led to this amazing dunk from Brandon Clarke.

 

Bench Mob:

The Grizzlies second unit tallied 59 points on the night while shooting 23-35 from the floor and 6-of-12 from three. The 59 points put up by the bench marks a new season-high.

Solomon Hill continued to provide help off the bench, finishing the night with 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. 

De’Anthony Melton closed out with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, and backup guard Tyus Jones ended the night with 9 points and a game-high 9 assists.  

 

History Made:

Saturday marked the first time in NBA history that two Japanese-born players (Memphis’ Yuta Watanabe and Washington’s Rui Hachimura) faced off in an NBA regular-season game. Watanabe and Hachimura are the second and third Japanese natives, respectively, to play in the NBA. 



Who Got Next?

The Grizzlies will face off against the Miami Heat on Monday night, closing out this three-game homestand.

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Jackson's Historic Night Not Enough to Tame Bucks

Posted By on Sat, Dec 14, 2019 at 11:36 AM

Jaren Jackson Jr. launches one of his seven third-quarter 3-poinnters
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. launches one of his seven third-quarter 3-poinnters

The Memphis Grizzlies put up a good fight Friday night, until reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo took over in the final period to extend the Milwaukee Bucks' win streak to 17 straight games, beating the home team, 127–114. The Bucks improved to 23-3 on the season. 

Jaren Jackson, Jr. had the best game of his young career, setting several franchise and NBA records with a monster third quarter. Jackson had a career-high 43 points, while going 14 of 21 from the field. He scored 26 points in the third quarter and connected on 9 out of 15 three-pointers for the game, tieing a Grizzlies franchise record. 


Tyus Jones was in awe of his teammate’s performance: “Big time, but we know that’s what he’s capable of . Those performances are special.”

“Jaren Jackson (Jr.) is obviously a stud," said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, adding, “It was a pretty incredible individual performance from the three-point line, and everywhere.”

Antetokounmpo couldn’t believe what he was seeing while he was sitting on the bench in the third quarter. “Someone’s got to stop him,” he said. “He made seven threes and when I was out, he made five. I’m thinking that I have to come back in. I got to help my team.” 

Antetokounmpo continued, “This is where the leader of the team takes a step forward. That’s what happens when he makes seven. You just got to execute and win the game. Tried to stay focused and know that I was going to come back in the fourth quarter.”


Historical Stats for Jackson
Jackson became the youngest player since Brandon Jennings on Nov. 14, 2009, to score 40 or more points in a game. He is also the youngest player in NBA history to make nine three-pointers in a single game and is the only player under 21 to do so.

Jackson’s 26 points in the third quarter set a new franchise record for most points scored in a quarter, passing Troy Daniels and Greg Anthony (22, each). His 26-point third quarter is the third most in a quarter in the NBA this season, behind James Harden (29) and Zach LaVine (27).

Jackson's nine 3-pointers tied Mike Miller for the Grizzlies' record for most in a game. Miller did it twice in the 2006–2007 season. Jackson's seven 3-pointers in the third quarter set a new franchise record for most threes in a quarter. Daniels held the previous record with six. 

The Michigan State alum’s 43 points tied Pau Gasol for the third-most points scored by a Grizzlies’ player in franchise history. Miller holds record with 45, followed by Pau Gasol with 44. 

.@jarenjacksonjr ran his streak of games with 1+ 3PM and 1+ BLK to nine straight tonight, a @memgrizz franchise record.

That is tied (with Giannis Antetokounmpo) for the longest such streak in the @NBA this season. https://t.co/yIIg4Bj1Yi

— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) December 14, 2019


Notes

Dillon Brooks finished with 19 points and three assists while going 4-of-7 from deep. He is averaging 24.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per 48 minutes this season. 

Jae Crowder recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, plus four assists. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied a double-double with 37 points (17 in the fourth quarter), 11 rebounds, and two assists on 12-of-23 shooting. 

Brook Lopez tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds

Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke sat out due to injury/load maintenance. 

The Grizzlies now have lost seven straight games on the home floor and are 8-17 on the season, overall.



Quotes from Jaren Jackson, Jr. on his historic night:

On whether he has ever had as good a quarter as he had in the third:

“No. There hasn’t been anything like that, because just everything for a minute was going in for me. I felt like just a crazy rhythm and the basket got bigger. It just felt good.”

On when he realized he was having a great game in the third quarter:

“Probably the banker. The banker was just like, ‘Thank you for the backboard being there,’ because otherwise, I would’ve air-balled it. That one was cool.”

On going head-to-head with Giannis Antetokounmpo:

“He’s just a great, great player coming at you with a full head of steam. You’ve got to pick your battles a lot. Tonight he was hitting the three a little bit, so you had to plan certain ways, doing euros trying to get around him and stuff. I always like that match-up though. He’s a great player.”

On what changed in the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter:

“Giannis (Antetokounmpo) kind of took control of the game a little bit more. Throughout the game, we were putting him at the free-throw line and we kind of gave up a lot in there. At the time we had our drought, they picked it up, so it was kind of just bad timing, honestly.”

On his confidence:

“I guess I always have confidence, just by the work I put in. In terms of shooting and getting my balance right and just getting my feet right so that I can make those shots when it’s harder and it’s like a hand up.”

On how he is attacking the ball differently now versus at the beginning of the season:

“My teammates are finding me a lot more in terms of the three-point line. They’re finding me in better spots and they’re looking for me a lot more, so that helps. Definitely in the summer, just working on my balance and working on having to get it off quicker because you have to get your release quicker and your feet down set. So, when you do that, you can take deeper ones and if it goes in, it goes in.”

Up Next
In a home back-to-back, the Grizzlies will face Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards at FedEx Forum tonight at 7 pm CST. Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke are expected to return to the lineup tonight. 

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Grizzlies Shade Suns in Phoenix

Posted By on Thu, Dec 12, 2019 at 9:51 AM

A resilient Grizzlies team went into Phoenix on Wednesday night and came away with its second consecutive road victory, beating the Suns 115-108. The team hadn't won consecutive games in almost a month. 

Ja Morant posterizes Aron Baynes. (see video below) - SCREEN SHOT
  • Screen shot
  • Ja Morant posterizes Aron Baynes. (see video below)

Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson, Jr. led the Grizzlies, who ended a 10-day road trip with the win. The Grizzlies (8-16) are now three games behind the Suns (11-13) for the eight spot in the Western Conference.

Brooks went 10-of-18 from the stripe, finishing with a game-high 27 points, plus two steals. Memphis is 6-0 this season when Brooks scores 20 or more points.

After the game, Brooks said, “We were taking it personally. They beat us at our house and we wanted to beat them in their crib and we were just guarding our ass off. We made the necessary plays. We went to the line and shot free throws and we didn’t back down. We guarded and rebounded.”

Jaren Jackson, Jr. added 24 points, six rebounds, and four assists, including 10-of-18 from the field, with three three-pointers and several strong finishes in the paint. Like the one below.

De’Anthony Melton, who came into his own after Morant missed four games due to back soreness, continued to make good use of his extended playing time off the bench. He finished the night with nine points, six rebounds, and a +22 in 19 minutes of play. 


Brandon Clarke returned to action after a four-game absence due to a sore left oblique. He led the bench unit with 15 points, seven rebounds, and two blocked shots in 22 minutes of action. Clarke still continues to be incredibly efficient, going 5-of-6 on the night, with 2-of-2 from three. Grizzlies fans should expect more from the Melton and Clarke duo. 


In 32 minutes, Jae Crowder stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals

Frank Kaminsky led the Suns with 24 points (season-high) and five rebounds while Ricky Rubio added 22 points and a game-high eight assists.


HOLY SH*T JA MORANT
Ja Morant has become a human highlight reel in his young NBA career. Mr. Fourth Quarter has had mind-blowing, jaw-dropping plays in nearly every game he has played this season. And Wednesday night in Phoenix was no exception.

Morant posterized Aron Baynes with a vicious dunk that brought #NBATwitter to life. It was the second time Morant has posterized Baynes. There aren't enough superlatives to describe this nasty dunk.

Morant talked about the dunk after the game. He said, “That’s my game — I’m going to try to finish every time. The first time was an and-1, the second one was a dunk." He says it felt good. See it below.

Morant added, "I feel like everybody knows that’s my game. To go to the rack with force and try to finish the play aggressive, and I was able to get one tonight. They (the bench) was just laughing, (saying) "It took you two months to get one." They were just excited and it just shows the type of team we have."

Brooks was ecstatic about the dunk. “Oh my gosh, I was screaming, Brooks proclaimed. “That’s how electric he (Morant) is — he’s a special player. If he’s having a tough game or whatever he finds a way to electrify the game to put us over the top.”


Morant finished the game with 13 points, nine of which were scored in the final period with the game on the line. 


What They Said!!
Taylor Jenkins, Grizzlies Head Coach
On the game:

“Unbelievable effort by our guys tonight, two nights in a row. You could maybe chalk this up to being another complete game for us. The Suns went out and got a couple early runs on us; we were a little too casual. But when we locked in, our guys were really good defensively. A team that’s been killing it on the boards and second-chance points, we just outrebounded them with all their crashers and athletic guys going in there. That was huge for us. Great job."

Jenkins continued: "Multiple guys guarded Devin Booker; Kaminsky got hot early, but we changed up some matchups and some coverages and I thought our guys handled that great. Offensively, as we have been talking about all season long, when teams go on runs against us, continue to trust the offense. There were a couple of moments there when we forced some things, but the ball kept moving around, some big plays down the stretch.

"One sequence I have to mention: they have a fast break play; we have two guys go in and I think De’Anthony (Melton), Brandon (Clarke) block the shot, we go down to the other end, we get a tip-in off an offensive rebound. Plays like that. There’s more of them throughout the game, but that one sticks out. The bench was huge for us tonight. Just credit to our guys going out getting two big wins to finish this road trip. These games are always hard at the end of a road trip. Proud of our guys’ effort tonight.”


Up Next

The Grizzlies return home to Memphis to host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night at FedExForum. Antetokounmpo missed Wednesday night's contest against the New Orleans Pelicans due to right quad tendon soreness. The Bucks extended their winning streak to 16 games against the Pelicans. It is unclear Antetokounmpo will be available to play in Friday's game. 

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