The Grizzlies have won 3 of their last 4 games, but they still had some new faces even in this Tuesday night matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. They had Jonas Valanciunas available for the first time where he came off the bench for the Grizzlies. There will still be some time for this team to be able to gel on the court during games, it will take some time, but the schedule waits for no one. Mike Conley was a late scratch due to illness and Delon Wright got the start in his absence.
The Grizzlies started the game off with a struggle, especially for the young rookies. Ivan Rabb was tasked with guarding LaMarcus Aldridge which proved to be very difficult. The Grizzlies tried to bring Justin Holiday on a double team which left them open to very easy baskets by the Spurs. After Rabb picked up two fouls in the first few minutes, Jonas Valanciunas checked in for the first time as a Grizzly. This allowed them to not have to double on Aldridge and play everyone man to man, which led to better defense and an early 4 point lead. The Grizzlies played hard on both ends of the floor, Jonas Valanciunas had 5 points and 5 rebounds in the first 6 minutes of his Grizzlies career. They were able to increase their lead to 8 points. Avery Bradley decided to show up for the Grizzlies in the first quarter and torched the Spurs for 16 points on 7-7 shooting while playing the entire first quarter, helping the Grizzlies out to a 13 point lead after one.
Patty Mills started off the second quarter hitting two threes in a row, followed by a Marco Bellinelli three pointer and the Grizzlies were forced to call a timeout. The Spurs led a second quarter comeback with a barrage of three pointers. The took the lead with just under four minutes left in the half off a three pointer from Bryn Forbes. The Grizzlies were able to fight back and take a one point lead at halftime after being down as much as 9 points in the second quarter.
The Grizzlies offense completely stalled in the third quarter, they ended four straight possessions with a heave of the ball at the end of the shot clock. The Spurs increased their lead to 8 points with some wide open shots from the perimeter. Jaren Jackson Jr. picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter early and Ivan Rabb continued to struggle with LaMarcus Aldridge defending by himself. The Grizzlies were able to fight back a little bit, but the offense could not score in the half court. They had to look at getting points in transition off of defensive possessions or pushing the ball really quickly up the court. Avery Bradley decided to show up again for the Grizzlies this time hitting shot after shot, finishing with 29 points after the third quarter, just three points off his career high. It was still not enough though as the Grizzlies were still down 8 points entering the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter started with a lineup that included Noah, Holiday, Miles, Caboclo, and Wright, which typically I don’t think would get you very many points, but the Grizzlies got back within 6 points and forced a timeout. Jaren Jackson Jr. came back in to the game and hit a three to pull them back within one about mid way through the fourth quarter. He had been sitting because of foul trouble and had only taken 2 shots before that. Once again in this game, Avery Bradley showed up and the Grizzlies took the lead behind a basket from him and a quick score from Valanciunas. It was back and forth the rest of the way for this Grizzlies team relying on Jonas and Bradley to get them a win. However, with just 1 second left on the clock, Jaren Jackson Jr. went to the line to shoot two free throws when the Grizzlies were down by two.
He missed the first. He made the second, but the Grizzlies would still lose by one point.
- Jonas Valanciunas is really big. Burly and big. He is also a extremely good rebounder.
- Avery Bradley has not played this well in two seasons, it may be a good idea not to get too excited about this game.