Prior to tipping off against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Grizzlies celebrated MLK Day with their annual Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium highlighting and honoring the 15th Annual National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Awards honorees. The honorees this year were Sheryl Swoopes, Caron Butler, Robert Parish and Doug Williams and all four had some very insightful things to say during the Symposium. It was a really cool experience to cover and be a part of and I’d encourage everyone to check it out next season.
The game itself was also a big one as the Grizzlies held a 4 game advantage over their divisional foe in the standings as they met for the first time this season. It was all offense to start the game with both Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks leading the Grizzlies charge combining for 16 points in the quarter. After 6 ties and 5 lead changes, the Pelicans led the Grizzlies 31-30 at the end of the first quarter, thanks in large part to a balanced scoring effort that saw 8 of 10 players get in the scoring column.
The Pelicans opened up the second quarter on an 8-3 run and never looked back jumping out to 19 point lead. Nicolo Melli scored 13 points behind 3 three-pointers, while Jrue Holiday led all scorers with 21 points. Outside of Dillon Brooks (15 points, 7 rebounds), no other Grizzly seem super interested in the game during the first half as the Pelicans picked up nearly every loose ball. The biggest difference in the half was beyond the arc where the Grizzlies were outscored by 33 with the Pelicans shooting 15-28 to the Grizzlies 4-12. The shooting difference resulted in a 69-50 halftime lead for the Pelicans who looked well on their way of snapping the Grizzlies 7 game win streak.
The Grizzlies cut the Pelicans lead to 14 early in the 3rd quarter before a quick Pelicans run extended their lead up to 21 points and continued their domination throughout the quarter. The Pelicans cooled off a little bit from beyond the arc, but it didn’t matter as Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans scored at will on the interior while the Grizzlies continued to struggle in general.
The Grizzlies entered the 4th trailing 98-77 and just hung around the 20-point deficit for most of the quarter. Midway through, the Grizzlies did catch a little bit of momentum as Ja Morant had back-to-back possessions with nifty dribble moves that led to layups.
Morant followed up the dribble moves with a nice pass to Grayson Allen for the fast-break alley-oop.
The Grizzlies used those plays to spark a run that saw the Grizzlies cut the Pelicans lead to 14 points midway through the quarter. After a few minutes of back-and-forth basketball, the Grizzlies were able to cut the Pelicans lead to just 7 with a few minutes remaining thanks to some inspired effort by De’Anthony Melton and Ja Morant. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies it was too little too late as the Pelicans held on for the win.
The loss snaps the Grizzlies 7 game win streak and their undefeated streak this season when Dillon Brooks scores over 20 points. The Grizzlies also move to 7-12 when hosting an MLK Day game since moving to Memphis.
The Grizzlies will travel to Boston where they will face off against the Celtics on Wednesday.
Dillon Brooks- 31 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists
Jaren Jackson Jr.- 19 points, 6 rebounds
Ja Morant- 16 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists
Jonas Valanciunas- 14 points, 11 rebounds
De’Anthony Melton- 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists