Happy National Grizzlies Day everyone.
Memphis won and the ‘Grizzlies are better without Morant’ Kool-Aid drinkers had themselves a night as Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton led the way offensively with 46 combined points in the win.
Memphis, the leading first quarter scoring team in the league, started out hot offensively scoring 40 in the period but the defensive matchups were interesting early as Coach Taylor Jenkins started out with Dillon Brooks guarding Kevin Durant leaving Desmond Bane to cover Kyrie Irving.
Irving would score 11 points in the first period.
Three point success was key for the Grizzlies early going 6-10 from deep including three makes from De’Anthony Melton off the bench who started with 12 points and one monster dunk.
PUT HIM ON A POSTER DEANTHONY MELTON! pic.twitter.com/nN3z8ucX0Q— Bally Sports: Grizzlies (@GrizzOnBally) March 24, 2022
Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks added 10 points each of their own combining to go 3-5 from three as the Grizzlies led after the first quarter 40-32.
The Grizzlies hot shooting continued in the second quarter as Bane’s third three of the game put them up 50-36 forcing a Brooklyn timeout.
The Grizzlies lead would get reach as many as 18 but Durant and Irving got going as they scored 37 of the first 50 Brooklyn points. Coach Jenkins tried a variety of defenders on Durant to free up Brooks to check Irving but it was difficult to slow down two of the league’s best shooters.
Steven Adams made his presence felt on the glass, recording 6 early rebounds including three tap-out offensive rebounds that led to second chance opportunities for Memphis.
Late in the second quarter the Memphis half court offense hit a bit of a lull as Brooklyn continued to chip away at the lead to make it 76-62 at halftime. Kevin Durant finished the half with 19 and Irving led the way for the Nets with 22.
The first half was a huge moment for the Grizzlies role players, De’Anthony Melton led the team in scoring with 20 off the bench, Kyle Anderson had two steals including one to close the half and John Konchar hit his first three pointer in what felt like a century.
We'll end the first half with some Slow Jams pic.twitter.com/TF64EParPR— Bally Sports: Grizzlies (@GrizzOnBally) March 24, 2022
Jaren Jackson Jr. was quiet offensively in the first half scoring just 2 points but scored the first 6 points of the second half with a 3 and an and one as he looked to be more aggressive offensively.
Despite JJJ asserting himself as a scorer to start the second half, the Nets cut the lead to just 8 after a pair of free throws from Kyrie Irving as the Grizzlies half court offense began to stall.
After an unbelievable four point play from Irving, the Grizzlies lead was just three points at 90-87.
Kevin Durant then took over and gave the Nets a 102-99 lead while Memphis scrambled to find any of the offensive rhythm they established in the first half.
A great double team from the Grizzlies led to a Tyus Jones floater but a layup from Bruce Brown at the buzzer gave the Nets a 104-103 lead going into the final period.
Starting the fourth quarter the lineup of Melton, Bane, Konchar, Clarke and Jackson gave the Grizzlies more shooting and spacing while Jackson had the ability to assert his dominance drawing an early shooting foul, forcing an open floor turnover of Irving and blocking his shot a few possessions later.
Back to back baskets from Brandon Clarke followed by back to back Bane threes gave the Grizzlies a 120-109 lead with 5:30 to go in the fourth.
They never looked back.
Another three from Bane gave him five for the game and the Grizzlies’ single season record record for three point makes, previously held by Mike Miller, while Brandon Clarke scored 10 of his 14 points in the final quarter to close out the Nets.