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Quick Recap: Memphis drops preseason home finale to Miami

Memphis hits the road to wrap up the preseason

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Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The Grizzlies continued their preseason slate with a Friday night matchup against the Miami Heat. The Grizzlies, 2-0 so far this preseason, enter the matchup with the plans to play the same starters as Monday in Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Santi Aldama and Steven Adams. Jenkins did make some minor changes to the bench unit, swapping out John Konchar and Jake LaRavia with David Roddy and Xavier Tillman. The change will give the Grizzlies some extra looks at possible bench lineups, while also giving Santi Aldama a chance to continue his strong preseason by playing with the starters.

The Heat, meanwhile, had their main players take the night off with Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and many other projected rotation players out for Friday nights matchup.

Memphis got off to a perfect start as they shot 4-4 from the field to start the game as they jumped out to a double digit lead early in the first quarter. The majority of the first quarter was essentially a free throw shooting contest for the Grizzlies, as they did an excellent job drawing contact and getting to the line. The execution at the free throw line was poor, though, as the Grizzlies shot just 11-19 from the charity stripe as they took a 29-21 lead into the second quarter.

Memphis’ offense got into a better rhythm in the second quarter and showed flashes of the Showtime Grizzlies of last season. Santi Aldama finished off a couple of alley oops, Ja Morant flew one in himself, and Morant had the Forum buzzing anytime the Grizzlies got out into transition. The Grizzlies led by double digits throughout most of the quarter, but the Heat finished the quarter strong with an 8-0 run to make it a 57-55 game at the halftime break.

The Grizzlies shot an efficient 19-36 (52.8%) )from the field but poorly from beyond the arc (3-13) and the free throw line (16-29). Ja Morant led the way with 13 points with Desmond Bane scoring 10 first half points to along with 3 assists. Santi Aldama continued to shine with an 8 point, 4 rebound half.

The Grizzlies lacked the energy and buzz that saw them go on a run in the second quarter, as Miami took a slim lead early in the 3rd quarter. Duncan Robinson and the Heat dominated the quarter as they took a 83-78 lead into the final frame. Robinson showed off his 3-point shooting skills that earned him such a big contract a few off-seasons ago as he had 29 points at the end of the quarter on 7-11 shooting and 5-9 from beyond the arc.

The Grizzlies were able to cut the Heat deficit down to 2 but Nikola Jovic responded with back-to-back triples to push the lead back near double digits. Dillon Brooks and the Grizzlies responded to make it a 3-point game midway through the quarter. The Heat were able to respond and build up an 8 point lead before Jenkins put in the young guys to close out the game. The young Grizzlies were able to scrap and make things interesting late with some clutch baskets by Ziaire Williams and Vince Williams Jr. to make it a 1-point game with less than 30 seconds remaining. The Heat were able to respond to make it a 3-point game and neither Ziaire Williams nor Kennedy Chandler could make the game-tying shot to send the game into overtime as the Heat win 111-108

Quick Takeaways

  • Free throw woes- The Grizzlies have been great at getting to the free throw line so far this preseason. The Grizzlies shot 76.2% (48/63) from the free throw line in the first two preseason games before tonight’s X-X shooting performance. If the Grizzlies are going to continue drawing a ton of contact and getting to the line, nights like tonight will need to be the outlier percentage wise.
  • Santi the starter- It sure feels as if Santi Aldama has already locked in the vacant spot in the starting lineup left by the injured Jaren Jackson Jr. Aldama has played well in all 3 preseason games, with tonight and Monday spending heavy minutes with the projected starting lineup. Aldama finished the night an efficient 4-6 from the field, scoring 11 points and racking up 6 rebounds.
  • Desmond Bane’s struggles- It’s been a relatively rough preseason for Desmond Bane. Bane went 5-13 from the field and 0-5 from deep against the Magic on Monday and then followed that up with a 5-11 shooting night, going 1-7 from deep tonight against the Heat. Bane’s shooting stroke will come, but it hasn’t been an ideal preseason for Bane looking to make another leap this season.

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