The Memphis Grizzlies welcomed their rivals, the New Orelans Pelicans, to FedExForum on Monday Night. While both teams were still alive for the play-in tournament in the Western Conference, Memphis clearly had far more to play for going forward. Fortunately, Memphis seemed to regain some of the offensive flow it had been missing for much of the past few weeks.
The Grizzlies started off quite well, as both Dillon Brooks (11 points) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (7 points) combined to get the Grizzlies a big first quarter lead. For much of the second half of the quarter, the Grizzlies were able to able to maintain a double digit lead. The Pelicans were able to get on their own run to end the quarter, and the Grizzlies were up by five, 36-31, to end the quarter.
The second quarter got off to a bit of a different start for the Pelicans, as the New Orleans youth, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeal Walker Alexander, pulled the Pelicans to within one. Both teams went back and forth for much of the quarter, but John Konchar provided seven points, several rebounds, and great hustle to allow the Grizzlies to maintain their lead. With about four minutes left in the second quarter, the Grizzlies starters decided to make their impact, as Brooks and Jonas Valanciunas found success in the paint. Overall, the Grizzlies ended the half hot and were able to make the score 71-59 at halftime.
Brooks, Jackson Jr., Konchar, and Valanciunas were the big reasons for the offensive outburst in the first half. However, Ja Morant, despite only having two points also produced nine assists. The Grizzlies had put together one of their best halves of basketball in quite a while.
Unfortunately, the momentum completely shifted in the third quarter. The Pelicans were able to take over the paint on their end of the court, as within four minutes, not only was New Orleans able to get into the bonus, they also were able to get the lead back. In fact, the Pelicans would increase their lead to as much as seven points via a 22-3 run between the end of the first and start of the second half.
Fortunately, the Grizzlies were able to weather the storm. Dillon Brooks found a few baskets, and the big momentum shifter for the Grizzlies was two straight threes from Ja Morant. However, Memphis struggled to hit its free throws throughout the quarter, and the Pelicans held the lead at 88-86 entering the fourth quarter.
The Pelicans made an earlier three to start the fourth quarter, but Brandon Clarke and Valanciunas mad back-to-back shots to make the score 92-91 Grizzlies. Along with Tyus Jones, Valanciunas and Clarke continued to find success in the paint, as they completed a 16-7 run to start the fourth quarter, featuring their strengths in the process. The Pelicans clawed their way back, as Lonzo Ball made a three to cut the Grizzlies lead to 106-102.
However, just as he did in the first quarter, Dillon Brooks was there with a free throw and a basket to extend the lead to seven. However, the Pelicans were there to counter, and both teams went back and fourth until the Pelicans took a timeout after another Brooks basket. The pause in play did not help, as both teams went back and fourth with possessions without success. The only remaining point that was scored was via a Kyle Anderson free throw, and the Grizzlies won 115-110.
The Grizzlies did struggle from three once again, but across the board, the Grizzlies more than made up for it. Memphis had 66 points in the paint, 19 blocks, 33 assists, and every starter in double digits. An all-around great effort from Memphis and getting a needed win in the pursuit of the playoffs.