Playing in Denver is never an easy thing. An afternoon tip is one of the least favorable schedule quirks according to the players. An afternoon tip on the road in Denver feels like a middle finger from the league office.
The Memphis Grizzlies only scored 11 points in the opening quarter, their lowest opening quarter of the season. That 15 point deficit proved too large to overcome as the Grizzlies pulled within 5 early in the second half, but could not finish the job.
Jaren Jackson Jr. came out of the gate scoring the first six points of the night for Memphis, but the rest of the starters lagged behind. The Grizz struggled to hit anything while Ja Morant was also oddly passive to begin the game.
Memphis ended the second quarter on a 21-9 run behind the play of De’Anthony Melton and Tyus Jones. In the second half, Jonas Valanciunas got it going as Memphis pulled within 5, but Denver’s Will Barton, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray had enough.
The deficit heading into the fourth was 14 and the Grizzlies could not get that below 7 before garbage time. Melton continued to play well, but Jokic flashed his superstar skills on his way to a triple double.
Ja Morant: 16 points 8 assists (10 in the fourth)
Jonas Valanciunas: 14 points 10 rebounds
Jaren Jackson Jr.: 20 points
De’Anthony Melton: 17 points 4 rebounds
Brandon Clarke: 15 points 5 assists
Tyus Jones: 8 points 7 assists
Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill: 45 minutes 4 points
Grayson Allen and Kyle Anderson: 27 minutes 9 points