Even under the most adverse of circumstances with 7 players out, the Memphis Grizzlies somehow continued their ascent to title contention, shocking the Brooklyn Nets on the road 118-104 in a game that really wasn’t as close as the final score.
I’m not really sure what more there is to say about the Grizzlies effort throughout this season. Call it the “Ewing Effect”, call it “next man up”, or whatever else you prefer. The Grizzlies just keep finding ways to win no matter who’s in uniform
The first half in particular was a wonderful example of this. Even with Jaren Jackson Jr. shooting just 1-9 from the field, the Grizzlies found a way to lead the entire half and take a 56-47 lead at halftime.
Jarrett Culver looked like he was back at Texas Tech, making contested jumpers off the dribble and wreaking havoc in passing lanes. Despite a rough whistle, Killian Tillie played superb one-on-one defense on Kevin Durant, who shot just 5-16 in the half. And the short-handed, fresh-faced Grizzlies bench as a whole outscored the Nets bench 26-4.
Keeping the circumstances the Grizzlies were facing in mind, it was a solid start headlined by some unexpected faces.
It was only in the third quarter when the Grizzlies usual suspects turned a solid start into a euphoric bloodbath.
Ja Morant...should we really be surprised anymore? He will be an All-Star and very well may end up being 1st-team All-NBA. Mind you, he was no slouch in the first half, totaling 15 points and 4 assists. But it was the second half when he decided to put Bruce Brown and DeAndre Bembry into a pick-and-roll torture chamber, scoring 18 points in the third quarter with ease, including this poster that demonstrated zero regard for human life.
He totaled 36 points on 14-22 shooting along with 6 rebounds and 8 assists.
Desmond Bane continued to show his ascent into stardom, as he scored 10 points in the third quarter, including a ridiculous pull-up three over the outstretched arms of Kevin Durant. He then made two huge threes in the 4th quarter when the Nets feisty bench managed to cut the lead to as little as 11, and he finished with 29 points on 12-23 shooting and 5-11 from three.
And if that wasn’t all, Brandon Clarke again demonstrated his excellence that made him so special in his rookie season, finishing with 17 points on 8-9 shooting, most of which were dunks that the Nets were helpless to prevent.
Also fun: the Grizzlies out-rebounded the Nets 62-33, which I’m sure is the biggest rebounding disparity in the league this year without even looking it up.
The Grizzlies will travel to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers tomorrow night.