Rocky Balboa once said that toughness is measured by how much you can get hit and keep moving forward. And the Memphis Grizzlies definitely got hit in more ways than one as they lost 126-114 in Indiana to the Pacers in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would suggest.
The first, and by far the most important, hit of the night came when Ja Morant violently fell to the ground and landed back-first on a careless camera man’s knee near the end of the first half.
Ja Morant was helped off the court after this hard spill. pic.twitter.com/SNBVMvmces— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 26, 2019
He had to be supported by trainers as he headed to the tunnel, which only stoked panic among the Grizzlies faithful. However, Morant appears to be built different in more ways than one, and he returned to the game with a vengeance in the second half. He finished the game with a superb 19 points, 10 assists, and 0 turnovers.
And it was no sooner than when Morant returned to the bench at the beginning of the second half that Jaren Jackson Jr. took the next hit with an elbow to the face from Myles Turner.
From a purely basketball perspective, the final hit from the Indiana Pacers wasn’t so much a hit as it was a never-ending haymaker. The Grizzlies defense struggled with rotations and closeouts all night, but it’s still incredibly rare to see a team shoot as well as the Pacers did tonight. They shot 54% from the field and 55% from three, making 18 of 33 attempts beyond the arc.
It doesn’t matter if Jaren Jackson Jr. has one of his best nights of the season, which he did as he made six threes on his way to 28 points and 5 rebounds. It doesn’t matter if the Grizzlies as a team played very well offensively, shooting 47% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc. If a team shoots as unsustainably well as the Pacers did tonight, you’re not going to win the game.
Effort was never really a question for the Grizzlies as they managed to make several runs of their own throughout the second half, but it was just one of those nights.
Box Score Notes
Brandon Clarke and Jonas Valanciunas were both excellent throughout the night. Clarke continued his run as one of the most efficient rookies in NBA history, scoring 17 points on 8-9 shooting. Valanciunas bounced back from several rough games with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Tyus Jones continued his recent stretch of poor play, and this time, Taylor Jenkins had seen enough. Outside of playing two minutes in place of Morant at the beginning of the third quarter, Jones didn’t play in the second half. He played only 12 minutes and was 0-5 from the field.
T.J Warren led the Pacers with 26, and Domantas Sabonis contributed with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Memphis Grizzlies will come home to play the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.