The Grizzlies welcomed the Washington Wizards to the Fedex Forum on Sunday Afternoon. Memphis was coming into the contest after earning its biggest win of the season while the Wizards experienced their worst lost of the year so far on Friday (in terms of points, respectively.) However, one would not have known that based off the start of the game.
The Wizards got off to a 9-0 start, looking significantly more crisp than the Grizzlies. Memphis struggled to get stops and were not getting good looks at the start of the game. Fortunately, after a timeout, the Grizzlies made some adjustments and started attacking the basket to get some shots to fall. However, the Wizards maintained their success and lead, surprisingly attacking the Grizz from beyond the arc with success.
Thankfully, Ja Morant got going in the middle of the first, scoring eight quick points to help Memphis cut the lead down to three, 17-14. As the first quarter drew to a close, the Grizzlies and Wizards started to trade points back and forth. Tyus Jones and Desmond Bane hit the Grizzlies first threes of the game, and Memphis ended the quarter down just one to Washington.
The Grizzlies energy was much better to start the second quarter, led by Brandon Clarke finding plenty of good looks. But the Grizz struggled to defend Monte Morris, who kept the Wizards at pace with Memphis. However, the Grizzlies bench then took over. After Clarke’s excellent start to the quarter, Jake Laravia had his best stretch as a pro. In a little over a minute of game play, an assist from LaRavia led to an And-1 for Bane and then the rookie hit two straight threes. Laravia was a +14 in his first four minutes of play. The end result was a 45-32 lead for Memphis.
After the Grizzlies flipped the switch to storm ahead, the game became a bit sloppy for both teams. However, the Memphis defense started to take over. While the Grizzlies were able to get some good looks on offense, the Wizards had very little success. Memphis allowed Washington to make just two of its final 15 three point attempts of the half, while the Grizzlies made seven of their last 20.
Memphis entered halftime leading 57-43, outscoring the wizards 33-18 in the second quarter. While Bane and Morant led the scoring with 14 and 10 points, respectively, it was the Grizzlies bench that earned the Grizzles the lead. The Memphis reserves outscored the Washington reserves 26-12 in the first half, going 10-15 from the field and 4-7 from three.
Memphis got into a groove once gain to start the third quarter, as they extended the lead to 21 just four minutes into the second half. Bane and Clarke both continued to find success, as Clarke came in for Adams, who went back to the locker room limping. The Wizards started to find some decent success offensively, as they were able to cut the lead to 16 with 4 1⁄2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Unfortunately, the Wizards success was only beginning, as they went on a 17-0 run to make a 21 point deficit only two points. However, the Grizzlies energy returned in the final minute of the quarter. Two free throws for Jones, a free throw for Xavier Tillman, and a put back by Brooks allowed Memphis to extend the lead back to seven points entering the fourth quarter.
The Wizards once again were able to answer, as they outscored the Grizzlies by 6 within the first 2 1⁄2 minutes of the fourth quarter. Memphis simply could not find an answer to keep the Wizards from getting good looks in the lane. As the quarter progressed, there were a few lead changes. Thankfully, both Morant and Adams returned to the game after each went out shaken up earlier in the second half.
Finally, the Grizzlies best started playing to their usual levels of productivity. Morant and Brooks scored seven straight points, and Memphis went back up by six points with four minutes left to play. The Grizzlies were able to maintain their lead into the final minute, as the Memphis defense was absolutely fantastic to end the game. The Wizards went six minutes of game time in the last seven minutes of the game with only four points, and the Grizzlies were able to find enough offense between Morant and Bane to win 103-97.
Morant and Bane combined for 51 points, while Memphis also held the Wizards to just 8-41 from three. Adams also did a great job limiting the productivity of the Wizards inside once he returned, and the end result is Memphis improving to 7-3. The Grizzlies turn right back around and welcome last year’s Eastern Conference Champions, the Boston Celtics tomorrow to Memphis.