Jonas Valanciunas scored the Grizzlies’ first 4 points in the game and continued to have a command of the offense for the first quarter, scoring 10 of the Grizzlies’ 31 points. The Grizzlies also put in a lot of effort on the defensive end with each starter earning a block. The Grizzlies shot 60.9%, scored 22 points in the paint and earned 11 assists to Denver’s 3.
Denver made offensive inroads by maintaining viability from behind the arc. With 9:14 left in the half, Denver had made 6 of 15 threes. The half continued to be a tale of two offenses - perimeter shooting for Denver contrasted with majority paint-points for the Grizzlies.
Dillon Brooks carried the offensive torch in the second quarter, but it was Solomon Hill ended the quarter on a high-note making 2 of 3 foul shots to extend the Grizzlies lead to 13 entering halftime. The Nuggets never led in the first half.
The third-quarter began with quick Valanciunas points to extend the lead to 15. Dillon Brooks took his high-octane offense to another level to open the half, extending the Grizzlies’ lead to 19.
Both teams began to get sloppy in the middle of the quarter, and Jokic was the Denver player capable of capitalizing on it most, shrinking the lead to 14 with 3:30 left in the third. A few key stops and a Tyus Jones triple closed the quarter 82-66.
Jaren opened the final quarter with a three and the Grizzlies continued preventing the Nuggets from chipping away at the lead. Ja Morant turned on his fourth quarter jets, but Jokic kept the Nuggets alive with a well-timed three to get Denver within 13.
The lead continued to expand and contract throughout the quarter with the Nuggets remaining hot from behind the arc. The teams traded traveling violations, and the Nuggets were able to cut into the lead with free throws while the Grizzlies remained cold from the line until it mattered and Ja Morant made both of his free throws to solidify the victory for the home team.
Memphis is now one win away from a .500 record. That’s remarkable, considering what the expectations were for this team to start the season. They get their chance to reach that level Wednesday night in New York against the Knicks.