The Memphis Grizzlies went into today’s contest short-handed and with their backs against the walls. Each passing day, the Grizzlies’ lead for 8th keeps shrinking and shrinking. A win against a Oklahoma City Thunder, without Steven Adams and 6th Man of the Year contender Dennis Schroder, would be huge.
The Grizzlies got off to a rough start in the first quarter, as Lu Dort — a 27% 3-point shooter — hit three quick 3-pointers. In addition, no one on the Grizzlies really got going, with the exception of a few Kyle Anderson buckets. However, Ja Morant did this sick ball fake to the bucket, looking like his legendary opponent Chris Paul:
The Grizzlies closed the first quarter down by 12, but they roared back to take a 3-point lead into halftime. They powered a comeback through a 17-2 run, led by veterans Anthony Tolliver and Gorgui Dieng — yeah, the bubble is super weird. The Grizzlies gave up 2 quick 3’s to Danilo Gallinari and Chris Paul to close the half, as Memphis led 63-60. Dieng led the team in scoring with 12 points, and Ja Morant finished the half with 11 points and 8 assists.
Led by Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant, the Grizzlies bolted out of the gates into the third quarter. Ja hit a pull-up 3, and I die inside everytime. After stellar shooting in the 3rd quarter, the Grizzlies went into the fourth quarter up 17.
Through bad selection from OKC, and an efficient quarter from the Grizzlies, Memphis held on to win their first game in the bubble, 121-92.
- Jonas Valanciunas - 19 points, 11 rebounds, 8/11 shooting
- Dillon Brooks - 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 10/18 shooting
- Ja Morant - 19 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds
- Gorgui Dieng - 12 points, 7 rebounds
- Brandon Clarke - 12 points, 8 rebounds, 6-6 shooting
- Grayson Allen - 11 points, 3/8 shooting (all from 3)
- Ja Morant was consistent. Ja did an excellent job of controlling the game and staying aggressive all four quarters. He attacked the basket really well, wasn’t hesitant from 3, and kept his teammates involved. This is the Ja we know and love.
- Feed JV works. Contrary to popular belief, the post is still vital in the NBA. As the Grizzlies have lost firepower, Valanciunas served as a calm, brutal force down low against the Adam-less Thunder.
- Grayson Allen’s got that flamethrower from deep. Grayson Allen’s hot shooting stretch continued, and without Tyus Jones and Jaren Jackson Jr., it was imperative for the Grizzlies to find another source of outside shooting. Allen has stepped up and is closer to being in the rotation than out of it next season.
Tune in on Sunday as the Grizzlies take on the Toronto Raptors at 1 PM CST.