The Wizards were coming off a massive collapse the other night against the Clippers, where they coughed up a 35-point lead to lose the game. Nonetheless, they are a team with a lot of quality depth and a star in Bradley Beal.
The Grizzlies jumped out to an emphatic start. They just dominated the Wizards and played with great force. Ja Morant and Desmond Bane led the scoring charge with 17 points combined in the 1st quarter. What was so impressive was their early rebounding advantage, as they had a berserk 16-2 rebounding differential at one point in the quarter.
The second quarter didn’t have the same pop, but the Grizzlies just kept chugging along with the lead. They had really good activity on both sides of the ball. De’Anthony Melton really set the tone in that regard, and he also added a great kick of scoring as well — drilling 3 three-pointers in the quarter. Ja Morant dazzled inside the paint, and drew ooo’s from the crowd, per usual. He even hit the Cabbage Patch!
To kick off the 3rd quarter, let’s just reiterate that Ja Morant is the best highlight player in the NBA. This sequence was the best one of the season, by a landslide.
Just took at this sequence. My Lawwwwwwwd.— Evan Barnes〽️ (@evan_b) January 30, 2022
Ja may have just one-upped his chasedown block with this filth https://t.co/e9ueUxH80E
The Grizzlies kind of let the foot off the gas a little bit in the 3rd quarter, letting the Wizards get within 12 in the 3rd quarter. Ja Morant, though, found a groove off switches and drilled 2 straight-away 3’s in Montrezl Harrell’s eyes. Though the Wizards ended the quarter with more force, the Grizzlies still closed the quarter with a 15-point lead.
The 4th quarter kicked off with a gnarly defensive sequence. Brandon Clarke blocked Deni Avdija’s floater, then Corey Kispert got the offensive rebound, only to get blocked by fellow Gonzaga Bulldog Killian Tillie. On the offensive side of the ball, Tillie drilled two spot-up 3’s. Very positive development there. The Grizzlies managed to stick with the lead through the rest of the game to close with a 115-95 win.
- Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies are the greatest show in the league. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say that there are many — or any — more fun teams in this league right now than the Memphis Grizzlies. It seems like Morant gets his highlight of the year once a week, and tonight he delivered a glorious windmill slam. They also just play a fun, unselfish brand of basketball centered around a superstar point guard. Tonight was just another example of the superb play and immaculate vibes from this Grizz team.
- Activity from the wings. The Grizzlies played with force and were very active across the board. They finished with 60 rebounds, 10 blocks, and 8 steals — which in turn sparked their transition offense as well. Specifically, John Konchar and De’Anthony Melton stood out here, as they combined for 17 rebounds and 3 steals. Rebounding is a collective effort, and these two players show the benefits of having good positional rebounders.
- Steven Adams, the glue to the offense. Steven Adams stuffed the stat sheet tonight — finishing with 10 points, 15 rebounds (10 offensive), 5 assists, and 3 blocks. His ability to create extra possessions and serve as a top-of-the-key playmaker has made life easier for the Grizzlies offense. And he also provided good rim protection in drop coverage, something he was able to do against the Wizards’ non-spacing big men. Not bad for someone that people insisted was washed after a season on a team that was clearly a poor fit for his talents.