The Grizzlies came into Thursday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings winners in two of their last three games. Ja Morant was riding the personal high of winning his second-consecutive NBA Rookie of the Month award as the Grizzlies looked to add another loss to the Kings’ 8 game losing streak.
The Kings led early 12-11 before Memphis would go on a 9-0 run to go up 21-12. Buddy Hield dropped 10 in the 1st, but that wasn’t enough as the Grizzlies would eventually stretch things out even more to a 20 point lead and head into the 2nd quarter with a 42-26 lead. That 42 was the highest Grizzlies first quarter of the season behind 14 points on three triples from Jaren Jackson Jr.
Also, a couple other notes about that quarter:
The @memgrizz led the Kings 42-26 at the end of the 1Q tonight at Sacramento.— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) January 3, 2020
The Grizzlies’ 42 1Q points are the most ever scored by the team in the opening period of a road game and the second-most ever scored in any 1Q (franchise record: 45 on 4/10/2019 vs Golden State).
Sacramento put a small run together early in the 2nd to bring that lead down to 12, as both teams had trouble holding onto the ball. Richaun Holmes and De’Aaron Fox got the lead down to 5, as the Kings ended up in the bonus with over 4:30 left in the quarter. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies couldn’t buy a bucket as they went 0-for-7 from distance and the Grizzlies committed 5 turnovers in the 2nd quarter alone. Back-to-back threes from Bogdan Bogdanovic put Sacramento in front since early in the 1st, erasing the 20-point Grizzlies lead. On the heels of a 25-8 run, the Kings went into the break up 63-60.
Jaren Jackson Jr. led the Grizzlies in scoring in the first half with his 14 1st quarter points, while Dillon Brooks added 12 (1 in the 2nd quarter) and Jonas Valanciunas had 11. Richaun Holmes powered the Kings with 15 first-half points to go along with 12 from Buddy Hield and 10 from De’Aaron Fox.
The Kings extended their lead to 8 to start out the 3rd but eventually the Grizzlies would tie the game back up at 74 on a Jae Crowder three with 7:23 left in the quarter. Another three from Crowder three minutes later would put Memphis back in front 87-86 as part of a 15-4 Grizzlies run to end the 3rd quarter. Memphis would head into the 4th once again in the lead 97-90.
Much like the 2nd, Sacramento put together a run, this time a 14-6 run to go up 104-103. The final lead of the game for the Grizzlies came at 106-104 as the Kings took full control after that. Memphis just didn’t fare well in even number quarters Thursday as Sacramento maintained their lead and went on to win the game 128-123.
Ja Morant had 23 points for Memphis, while Jae Crowder finished with 19 and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 18. Jonas Valanciunas had 18 of his own to go with 12 boards for another double-double. De’Aaron Fox led all scorers with 27 and teammate Buddy Hield was right behind him with 26.
Memphis will get back to it Saturday afternoon, as they travel to LA for the second game of their three game trip. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers await the Grizzlies at 2:30pm central on Saturday from the Staples Center as they look to get back on the right track.