Memphis brings the pain in the return of Desmond Bane!
All eyes were on soon-to-be newly selected All-Star Ja Morant, who started his celebration early. Ja came to San Antonio & served the Spurs a 40 piece extra hot and wet. Fans all around courtside can be seen licking their fingers from the Memphis flavor splashing everywhere. Jaren Jackson Jr. looked like a legit star all night as he dominated San Antonio on both ends. The game was back and forth as even when Memphis went up 15 points, a Gregg Popovich coached team ain’t quitting easy. This group stayed true to that as they came back down from 15 to tie the game. However, Memphis had the two best players in the building tonight in Ja and Jaren. The Grizzlies also had 3 of the best 4 players on the court this game in upcoming star Desmond Bane.
The Grizzlies took care of business on the road with another victory to hold the 3rd seed in the Western Conference playoff race.
“12”: 37:25 minutes/ 41 points/ 8 assists/ 5 rebounds/ 2 steals/ +9 +/-
Ja came out strong, looking to get guys going early. In the opening period he had six points and had 15 points at halftime. In the third quarter the Ja takeover badge was on fire. If you didn’t get to see his performance in between the two and three minute mark of the third quarter then you’re missing out on history rim finishing in the making. He finished the third quarter alone with 13 points & had Spurs fans in excitement every time he touched the ball by then.
Ja controlled what became a very tight game at the end. He got to the free throw line time after time, slowly killing the Spurs momentum all while building the lead.
When he wasn’t deflecting/stealing passes with his buddy De’Anthony Melton, he was using his handle to break down defenders. Ja set up shots for himself on beautiful layups and looks for others such as the behind the back crossover/alley-oop assists to a lob finishing Brandon Clarke around the three minute mark of the third quarter.
Ja continued to dominate as he had 13 points in the final period as well. Ja closed out the game in total control as he had taken the Spurs momentum away with his defense & constant drives to the basket that resulted in free thro attempts and made shots. Ja was also 3/5 from three as he had another historical night leading the Grizzlies to victory.
DESMOND BANE: 33:25 minutes/ 20 points/ 3 rebounds/ 3 assists/ 1 steal/ +3 +/-
Desmond Bane got off to a hot start. After missing the last three games in healthy & safety protocols, Bane ripped off a smooth 11 points in the first quarter alone. This was also his 9th double-digit scoring quarter on the season. Bane came out aggressive on the ball looking to shoot at a moment’s notice but never out of control or hurting the offense.
Bane ended up with another twenty piece (spicy) for the evening. That said, he looked damn good doing so in his first action back. His defense was solid as he didn’t allow any of San Antonio wing players to have a stand out game like he managed to carve out for himself offensively. Kudos to the man who should be the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season.
ZIAIRE WILLIAMS: 25:48 minutes/ 11 points/ 3 rebounds/ 2 assists/ 1 steal/ +10 +/-
Ziaire didn’t have a huge scoring game, but he definitely had a good one all-around. He stayed true to his double digit scoring average as a starter with 11 points on the night. His most productive contribution, however, was his defense on the wing. Ziaire played excellent positional defense as he used his length to seal off spacing in his area. He also made a few lose ball plays and set up a couple of teammates with assists.
“TRIP” JACKSON JR: 31:33 minutes/ 22 points/ 9 rebounds/ 6 blocks/ +4 +/-
Jaren was the Memphis Grizzlies Michelob Ultra Player Of The Game for the broadcast team. His performance on both ends was that of a two-way all star caliber player tonight. He wasn’t too far off from a triple double game with his six blocks! Jaren took what the defense gave him anywhere on the court, imposing his will on smaller defenders in the post which lead to a very efficient shooting night.
He didn’t make a three point shot until around three minutes left in the final period but it was a much needed tie breaker at the time. His defensive positioning as well as his anchoring skills have become unbelievably good. He has also truly become the leader of the defense as you see him getting guys where they need to be, and saving the day when his guys aren’t there to defend a shot opportunity.
Rest Of The Guys: The rest of the team all finished the game as single digit scorers. Brandon Clarke had some highlight moments like his lob finish off of the circus like playmaking assists from Morant. Melton made some great defensive plays along with Ja especially late in the third quarter and he knocked down a couple of shots. John Konchar made a few decent plays as well as Killian Tillie but not much noteworthy.
COACHING- Taylor Jenkins coached a solid game in what became a game of runs. He didn’t allow his team to lose much momentum when San Antonio came back from being down 15 points late in the second half. He also did a great job of managing Steven Adams, who wasn’t having the best game vs a much smaller Spurs lineup. He rested Ja, Bane, and Jaren for the right moments. It all worked masterfully. Kudos to BIG Jenkins!