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Quick Recap: Grizzlies close out Kings to kick off 2023 with a win

The Memphis Grizzlies are now on a 3-game winning streak, after defeating the Sacramento Kings 118-108

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Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies continued their trek through the Western Conference playoff contenders. After taking on the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and New Orleans Pelicans in the past 2 weeks, they now take on the rising Sacramento Kings to kick off 2023.

Could the Grizzlies prevent the beam from being lit?

Both teams started out slow — perhaps a New Year’s hangover, who knows. The Kings started to generate some separation with 3 straight 3’s for a 7-point lead. After the Grizzlies’ timeout, they responded with a 7-0 run to even the game. Things stayed back and forth from that point, as the Grizzlies led the Kings 27-26 at the end of the 1st quarter.

Ja Morant had 13 points in the quarter, including this wicked alley oop from John Konchar’s hustle play.

Jaren Jackson Jr. picked up where he left off after his 6-block performance against the Pelicans, totaling 3 blocks just in the first quarter.

The 2nd quarter remained back and forth, as the Grizzlies and Kings tied for second quarter points. Tyus Jones was a standout in the quarter. He finished with 15 first-half points, while hitting 4 three-pointers. His confidence with the pull-up 3 has been a cool development during his time in Memphis. The Grizzlies led 59-58 at the end of the first half.

The whistle didn’t start too well for the Grizzlies in the second half, as they were several calls made at the beginning of the 3rd quarter to get the Kings to the foul line. There was also a missed call on a Steven Adams box-out that infuriated Taylor Jenkins to the point of a technical foul. They navigated the rough whistle though to maintain an advantage in the third quarter. John Konchar continued to fly around and make an impact in the open floor, and he was also on the receiving end of two transition buckets — including one acrobatic finish.

The Grizzlies led 91-87 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

The Memphis Grizzlies started out the 4th quarter with 3’s from Tyus Jones and Jaren Jackson Jr. Then, they opened the floodgates with the play of Steven Adams and Ja Morant. It felt like Adams inhaled every offensive rebound, and Morant sliced the Kings’ defense to find his way downhill. That closing performance was enough to give the Grizzlies a 118-108 victory.

Quick Takeaways

  • Trenches. Steven Adams and Domantas Sabonis are two of the league’s best at rebounding the basketball. Whoever came away with the advantage here would likely help their team’s chances of winning. Adams dominated the glass en route to a victory. He hauled in 23 rebounds — becoming the first player in franchise history to grab 20+ rebounds in back-to-back games — and his offensive rebounding was paramount for the Grizzlies to secure the possessions advantage. For someone who seems underrated when discussing the Grizzlies’ success, Adams shined to give them a big time win.
  • Jitty bounce back. John Konchar had struggled scoring the basketball in December, but he’s starting to snap out of it. He scored 11 and 8 points in each of the past 2 games, and he came away with 12 in this game. Though the outside shot wasn’t falling, his activity flying up and down the floor gave the Grizzlies a jolt of energy on a New Year’s back-to-back. Coupling the “jitty” hustle things with aggressive offense is good for the Grizzlies system.
  • Tyus Jones is crucial. The Grizzlies were missing two of their best 3-point shooters in Desmond Bane and Santi Aldama, and they needed to find a way to close the 3-point gap between them and the Kings — a team that fires 3’s at will. Jones did that for the Grizzlies, while also providing a boost off the bench for a squad missing 2 of their best bench scorers in Aldama and Brandon Clarke. His 5 three-pointers accounted for half of the Grizzlies’ makes from downtown, showcasing his confidence and improvements as an outside shooter. Whether it’s scoring or facilitating the basketball, Jones continues to be a crucial element of the Grizzlies’ bench.

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