Dillon Brooks led the Grizzlies with 26 Points on 9-18 shooting (4-5 3P).
Morant’s absence was notable to start. Inaccurate passes and bad offensive timing made the 1st quarter a much more awkward affair than it should have been. While the Grizzlies worked their way into a rhythm, they took a 25-21 lead into the 2nd quarter behind Minnesota’s equally sloppy play and worse shooting.
In the 2nd quarter, the shooting didn’t improve drastically for either team, leading to the Grizzlies keeping the lead into halftime at 48-47. Second verse, same as the first. More bad shooting by both teams and great defense played against Karl-Anthony Towns in the first half kept the game in reach for a shorthanded Grizzlies team.
Not only was Morant out for the game, so was Jonas Valančiūnas and Kyle Anderson, severely limiting the rotation available to coach Taylor Jenkins. This lack of depth was particularly noticeable when Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder led the team in scoring at halftime. Brandon Clarke left the game at halftime and Jaren Jackson Jr was in constant foul trouble.
This season, Memphis has had issues coming back from halftime with the same effort and execution they had in the first half of games; third quarters are particularly troublesome for the Grizzlies. Sunday night, that was far from the case. Memphis actually won the third quarter 38-32 to take a 86-79 lead into the fourth. Strong play from Grayson Allen and Bruno Cabcolo led the charge against a Minnesota team that continued to struggle.
Memphis kept their foot on the gas and Dillon Brooks came to play in the 4th. Some huge threes from Brooks extended the lead enough to give the Grizzlies some cushion. A true team effort led by every *available* player gave the Grizzlies and Taylor Jenkins a defining win. A win that should serve as a confidence-booster as the Grizzlies will be without Ja Morant for the foreseeable future.
Up next: hosting the Indiana Pacers (12/2)