The Memphis Grizzlies were in need for a response after dropping Game 1 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Grizzlies didn’t seem too phased or rattled — in fact, the result of the game pissed them off.
Their response was quite emphatic.
The first quarter lacked any sort of rhythm and flow. There were 20 fouls called and 2 technical fouls, resulting in 33 free throws — the most in any 1st quarter in 25 years. The Grizzlies had Dillon Brooks, Steven Adams, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke all tally 2 fouls. That led to Xavier Tillman minutes (more on that!). We did get some basketball stuff though. Desmond Bane found his groove to hit 2 three’s in the period. Ja Morant dazzled and made his mark as both a scorer and playmaker, tallying 8 points and 4 assists in the first quarter.
The Memphis Grizzlies were able to expand the lead a little bit, as the game started flowing a little bit better. The Grizzlies got excellent minutes from Tillman, who was rolling hard to the basket and defending with smart physicality. They also found their groove from the outside as well, with triples from Jackson, Bane, and Melton. The Grizzlies found themselves with a 60-49 lead into halftime.
The Memphis Grizzlies opened up the game in the 3rd quarter quite emphatically. They expanded their lead by as much as 27 points. Ja Morant, in particular, was in his bag — slicing the Wolves defense and even splashing some 3’s.
Oooooo man, Ja is in his bag pic.twitter.com/IaXqhjOhak— Parker Fleming (@PAKA_FLOCKA) April 20, 2022
Dillon Brooks also made some nice extra passes to find his teammates for better shots — a clear area of growth in his game. The Timberwolves were able to on a mini-run, as the Grizzlies led 96-77 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Memphis Grizzlies took care of business to shut off the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 4th quarter. They got three-pointers from Jaren Jackson Jr. and De’Anthony Melton. Brandon Clarke took advantage of the defense for easy opportunities inside. Minnesota just couldn’t find any sort of rhythm in their comeback efforts.
- THAT’S Memphis Grizzlies basketball. The Memphis Grizzlies played their brand of basketball. The defense was stifling, they were crashing the boards, and they were balancing a relentless paint attack and 3-pointers. Ja Morant led the charge once again in this regard, but the Grizzlies got a big lift from Jaren Jackson Jr. in this one — as he put his stamp on the game with a remarkable two-way game. That’s the Memphis Grizzlies we’ve seen all season, and let’s hope they don’t go away anytime soon.
- Awesome Xavier Tillman minutes. There’s the ole saying: “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.” Xavier Tillman embodied that, and it changed the tide of the game. He stepped in for the Grizzlies — as the entire Grizzlies center rotation dealt with early foul trouble. His energy on both sides of the ball were felt — as he set hard screens, rolled to the basket, and defended across the court with smart force and physicality. With his size and his mobility, he might be one of the best options to defend Towns in this series. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him.
- No more Steven Adams? On the other side of the prior point, Steven Adams played 3 minutes after receiving 2 early fouls. It looks like the speed of the Wolves, particularly KAT, is too much for him to deal with. Taylor Jenkins adjusted, and it paid off in a huge Game 2 win. I don’t know if we see Adams any more in this series, or even this postseason. What he provides to this team is valuable to the system, but his flaws may not be suited for this playoff environment. This development will be interesting to monitor. But he’s also a pro’s pro:
Steven Adams hasn’t played the final 45 minutes of this game but I’m not sure he’s sat down on the bench. Been hyping up and coaching from the sideline all game. Having vets is nice— Brandon Abraham (@bcabraham) April 20, 2022
- Grizzlies letting it fly. Taylor Jenkins and the Grizzlies wanted to attempt and make more 3’s. Jenkins loves to say “you got to take more 3’s to make more 3’s.” After a 7-27 outing from deep in Game 1, the Grizzlies shot 11-34 (32.4%) from 3 in this one. It’s not insanely efficient or anything. However, the extra ball movement and willingness to fire the 3 made the Grizzlies offense less predictable, and it really opened up the floor for Ja Morant and others going downhill. Also, very encouraging to see Jaren Jackson Jr. find his rhythm from downtown (4-7).
Now it’s on to Minnesota, as the Grizzlies take on the Timberwolves for Game 3 of this Western Conference 1st round matchup.