Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins returned to the city where he got his start in the NBA for the first time as a head coach. We also got the return of a different sort, this one involving rookies Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke coming back to the lineup after sitting out Saturday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Jaren Jackson Jr. got the Grizzlies going offensively in the 1st quarter, going 3-for-6 from the field for 7 points. Dillon Brooks and Jonas Valanciunas were just as good, with 6 and 8 points, respectively. Memphis led by as many as 10 early eventually stretching their advantage to 16 in the final minute before settling on a 35-22 lead at the end of the quarter.
San Antonio would go on a run to start the 2nd quarter and close the lead down to 8 in the first few minutes. The Grizzlies, Ja Morant in particular, would get the Spurs into the bonus midway into the quarter, but Memphis couldn’t take advantage. Poor shooting by anyone not named Dillon/Jonas/Brandon/Jaren and foul trouble allowed San Antonio to close in and eventually take the lead late in the quarter. A late three-pointer by Jaren gave the Grizzlies a 57-54 lead heading into the break.
The aforementioned Brandon Clarke had 7 points off the bench, while Jaren led all scorers with 15. Valanciunas had 10 points and Brooks was the other Grizz in double figures with 12. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 12 points and DeMar Derozan dropped in 10 of his own.
The Grizzlies would start the 3rd quarter different than usual as they would continue building their lead, eventually extending it back to double digits. A questionable call on Marco Bellinelli 4-point play against the Grizz would close the gap, but Memphis would extend their largest lead since the first quarter behind big threes late from Jaren and Clarke to help the Grizz take a 91-80 lead into the 4th quarter. Memphis outscored San Antonio 34-26 in the 3rd quarter en route to their first positive 3rd quarter of the season.
San Antonio is typically very good in the 2nd half this season, and they showed that to start the 4th quarter going on a 17-3 run to tie the game up at 94. Back-to-back baskets from Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder would put Memphis back up 99-94, but it wasn’t over yet. San Antonio would go back ahead 104-101 on a Rudy Gay three before the two team would start trading the lead back and forth. Memphis would take a 111-108 lead on a Crowder three-point basket with 1:48 to play. Two Dillon Brooks free throws with 14.6 seconds left would seal the game for the Grizzlies.
Jaren led all scorers with 24 points, Jonas Valanciunas got another double-double with 18 points and 12 boards, and Dillon Brooks had 21 points of his own. Brandon Clarke finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. The Spurs had 5 players in double figures with LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way with 19 points.
The Grizzlies will be back in action Wednesday night in Charlotte, before coming back to Memphis on Friday for the return of Mike Conley to FedExForum.