The first quarter was an absolute slog as the officials wanted it to be known early that this was THEIR preseason game, calling 18 fouls in the frame. Still, the Grizzlies rode aggressive play from Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. along with opportunistic defense to take a 34-27 lead.
The defense in particular continues to be eye-opening, as Taylor Jenkins has been electing to almost exclusively forego using drop coverage when Steven Adams isn’t on the court. The second quarter was a solid example of the havoc that the Grizzlies can wreak in the passing lanes while switching everything with Jaren at center, as they had 5 steals in the quarter.
Morant would pace the offense with 18 points on 7-8 shooting in 14 minutes, and Tyus Jones added 12 points of his own as the Grizzlies took a 70-46 lead into halftime.
The game would never be in doubt again and served no other purpose than for Morant to show off the new tricks in his bag. In the third quarter, he sank 4 mid-range jumpers in a row, which I’m almost certain that he never did that in an entire game last year. He would total 24 points on 10-13 shooting and 5 assists in 26 minutes.
Jaren Jackson Jr. would finish with 20 points on 7-14 shooting and 8 rebounds in 26 minutes. De’Anthony Melton also continued to be excellent, finishing with 16 points, 7 boards, and 4 assists.