The Memphis Grizzlies came into tonight’s game looking to extend their winning streak to a season-best 8 games. On the other side, the San Antonio Spurs stayed in town a little longer for a rematch from Monday night’s Grizz win.
The Grizzlies didn’t start the 1st quarter too hot, falling early to the Spurs. The offense picked things up, thanks to the returning Ja Morant. The All-Star guard just toyed with the Spurs’ defense, driving to the paint at will and baiting them with his verticality and ball-fakes. Unfortunately, the defense didn't offer much resistance, as the Spurs scored 37 first-quarter points to take a 37-32 lead after the period.
The Grizzlies went on an offensive surge in the 2nd quarter, scoring 44 points in the period. They shot the lights out from downtown, drilling 6 of their 10 attempts in the quarter — spearheaded by the resurgent Desmond Bane. They also did a great job of turning defense into offense, whether it was corralling steals or blocked shots for easy scoring opportunities on the other end. The Grizzlies closed the half with a 76-62 lead.
The Grizzlies’ offense continued humming in the 3rd quarter, as they scored 36 points in the period. Morant and Bane led the charge for them, reasserting themselves as one of the NBA’s top backcourts. Morant hit a couple 3’s, including 1 step-back 3; it was riveting.
[insert Borat “very nice”] pic.twitter.com/4zHDfsYb2v— Parker Fleming (@PAKA_FLOCKA) January 12, 2023
The Spurs took advantage of a relaxed Grizzlies’ defense, scoring 35 points in the quarter, which allowed them to keep it close. The Grizzlies led 112-97 after the end of the 3rd period.
Tyus Jones carried over a strong offensive outing end to the 3rd quarter with more of it to start the 4th quarter. However, the Spurs managed to trim the deficit for the entire period — getting it as low as 3. Ja Morant was a man on a mission in the 4th quarter, including a nasty step-back 3 and a demoralizing poster dunk (on, you guessed it, Jakob Poetl).
Ja Morant is a menace to Jakob Poetlpic.twitter.com/rDB9TIX9h3— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 12, 2023
As the Spurs continued to chip away at the lead. The Grizzlies’ work on the offensive glass was pivotal down the stretch, as they used 3 separate second-chance opportunities to put points on the board.
The Grizzlies ultimately came away with a 135-129 win to extend their winning streak to 8 games.
- Ja and Bane, back at it. Tonight served as a reminder of how Ja Morant and Desmond Bane are one of the most potent backcourts in the league. Though he cooled off later in the game, Bane continued to show signs of finding his swagger back — drilling 4 of his 5 three-point attempts, including several deep ones as well. Morant found his scoring all over the floor: attacking downhill, second-chance opportunities, in the mid-range, and from 3 (3-6 from 3). Both players looked refreshed and near the top of their games, and at a good time where the Grizzlies are finding their swagger.
- No defense. There was no defense in this game unfortunately, so if that’s your favorite part about basketball, then you’d likely be disappointed. The offensive fireworks were fun, but the Grizzlies’ top defense wasn’t really there tonight. The Spurs downhill frenzy left the Grizzlies off balance in a way, and their relentless energy throughout the game helped them take advantage of any plays off as well. It shouldn’t be a massive concern for this Grizzlies team, as there are off nights on both sides of the ball.
- Massive big man play down the stretch. The Grizzlies got big-time production from their big men, especially down the stretch. Adams continued his rampage on the glass, hauling in 18 rebounds — 7 of them on the offensive glass. He had several pivotal moments down the stretch. More specifically, he had a cycle where he blocked a shot on one end and got a putback on the other. Jaren Jackson Jr. didn’t swat as many shots as usual, but he crushed it on the glass. He tallied a career-best 12 rebounds, and he also corralled a big offensive rebound down the stretch. Against teams as feisty as the Spurs, you have to close the gap in the fight for 50-50 balls. Adams and Jackson set the tone for the Grizzlies to win that war, as the Grizzlies out-rebounded 57-48.
The Memphis Grizzlies will hit the road on Saturday for a quick trip to Indianapolis to take on the Indiana Pacers.