The Memphis Grizzlies entered a highly-anticipated game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, their first matchup after their playoff series and the Rudy Gobert trade. The national TV spotlight and the new city jerseys just enhanced the vibe coming into this game.
You could tell the adrenaline was flowing early — long shots and silly fouls. However, the offensive firepower was hot out the gate. The first quarter felt like a duel between the duo of Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant, and the tandem of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. They traded buckets rather seamlessly. The Grizzlies were attacking the Wolves’ drop coverage with the mid-range game, and the Wolves found their way into the paint and to the free-throw line. The Grizzlies closed the 1st quarter with a 33-30 lead.
The Grizzlies bolted out of the break to start the 2nd quarter, running their lead up to as high as 13. While Desmond Bane found his groove in the period, the run was fueled by good ball movement and defensive stops. Foul trouble started to reign over both teams, as Towns picked up his 4th foul — and Rudy Gobert, Steven Adams, and Brandon Clarke each picked up their 3rd foul. The first half ended with Ja Morant and Anthony Edwards dazzlingly trading buckets, as the Grizzlies led 72-63 to close the second quarter.
The Timberwolves started the 3rd quarter with more urgency, chipping away at the Grizzlies’ lead. Then, Desmond Bane happened. Though Ja Morant was taken out of the game with foul trouble midway through the period, Bane stepped up to provide the offensive punch necessary to withstand Minnesota’s surge — scoring 11 points and dishing out 2 assists. The Grizzlies recaptured their defensive edge and managed to walk into the 4th quarter with a 12-point lead (96-84).
The Memphis Grizzlies carried their momentum through the 4th quarter, sustaining their double-digit lead for the most part. Ja Morant took this game through a quick pitstop to Lob City — connecting with Brandon Clarke and Santi Aldama on consecutive alley-oops.
Later, Ja Morant converted an and-1 that gave Karl-Anthony Towns his 6th foul of the game. The Grizzlies ultimately took care of a business and rode out the 4th quarter into a 114-103 victory.
- The Grizzlies picked apart the Rudy Gobert part of their defense. The Grizzlies rendered the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year ineffective. They attacked him in the pick-and-roll, taking advantage of the separation generated from the screen and the switch to get to their sweet spots for buckets. The Grizzlies also just attacked the paint relentlessly without really caring about Gobert protecting the rim. Their aggressiveness set the tone for the Grizzlies in this one, jabbing their way through to pick up the victory.
- The Grizzlies took care of business like great teams do. The Grizzlies had a whole lot of togetherness in this matchup. They locked in from start, and their execution and urgency were rock solid. The Grizzlies went through some storms, primarily 3-point shooting woes and a few runs from Minnesota. However, they stayed level-headed, stuck to their gameplan, and came away with a win.