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Grizzlies fall to Spurs 99 - 84

Dusty Hannah’s hot hand no match for Keldon Johnson

NBA: Utah Summer League-San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies went into Tuesday night’s game in Salt Lake City without their scrub stars as Yuta Watanabe, Ivan Rabb, and Jevon Carter rested for the second game of Summer League. The Spurs rested players as well, including Lonnie Walker IV (who scored 20 points in the San Antonio’s first Summer League game). Memphis jumped out to a 7-2 lead, and then the struggle bus arrived to the station. While the Grizzlies’ offense stagnated, the Spurs moved and whipped the ball around to find copious open looks for easy three-point makes—good for a 17-4 run. G-League Spurs baller Jeff Ledbetter was a quarter-pounder in a sackful of McDoubles in the first quarter, shooting 4/5 from three and leading all scorers.

NBA: Utah Summer League-San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies
Dusty Hannahs drives to the hoop against Kenny Williams
Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Things went from bad to awful for the Grizzlies in the second quarter, as Memphis struggled to get into their sets without turning the ball over, and the Spurs made them pay with fantastic transition offense. San Antonio didn’t let up from deep either, finishing the half with 6 three-pointers on 43% shooting. The Spurs lead ballooned to 20 or more points on several occasions. The Grizzlies shot an abysmal 25% beyond the arc, and struggled from the field in general (38.5% FG). The Spurs ran a balanced offense (tallying 15 assists to the Grizzlies’ 8), going inside at times and finding plenty of open looks from three, and collapsed on the Grizzlies in the paint to force turnovers.

Dusty Hannahs earned the start, but didn’t do much with the opportunity. Doral Moore played well as the biggest human on the court, cramming home an efficient 4/5 FGs. Paris Lee contributed 7 points and one stratospheric rainbow three. But nothing and nobody stood out in a positive way in the first half.

The Spurs’ exemplary team play continued into the second half while Memphis’ lack of cohesion remained unchanged. San Antonio’s lead expanded to 20 again about halfway through the third quarter before Memphis started to settle into a more acceptable rhythm. Memphis mounted an 11-2 run behind a couple Dusty Hannahs buckets and quality point guard play by Paris Lee. Lee stabilized the offense by hitting shots, penetrating and scoring at the rim, and facilitated for his teammates with some great kickouts for open shots. Memphis clawed their way to within 11 points of the Spurs’ lead and finished the third quarter down thirteen.

The Grizzlies continued to play better in the fourth, but were unable to overcome the deficit despite Dusty Hannahs catching fire down the stretch. The Spurs’ 2019 first round draft picks looked pretty good in this game. Luka Samanic (selected 19th overall) appeared to show a lot of promise, using his size, strength, and stride to get into the paint and close to the rim with ease. Keldon Johnson (the 29th overall pick) was great, leading all scorers with 29 points, and 14 in the fourth quarter to close out the game. Dusty Hannahs led the Grizzlies in scoring with 20 points, and Paris Lee contributed 13 points and facilitated the offense with 7 assists.

Memphis returns to Summer League action tomorrow at 6PM CT to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on NBATV.