It has become an annual tradition for the Grizzlies to play at home on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a nationally broadcast game. Unfortunately for them, they finished this 6-game homestand with a loss, snapping a seven-game winning streak in the process. The effort was there from the Grizzlies, but the Pelicans clearly wanted to leave with the W and made it happen.
The Grizzlies showed that defending well is still sometimes a problem, and the whole team struggled with outside shooting. In fact, the Grizzlies closed the night having shot just 9 of 33 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday set a new career high with seven made three pointers, and New Orleans as a whole shot 44 percent from distance.
The Grizzlies might have lost the outside shooting battle, but they outscored the Pelicans 70-36 in the paint. The turnover and rebounding battles were other high points, with the Grizzlies out-rebounding the Pelicans 51-43, as well as converting New Orleans’ 17 turnovers into 20 points.
By The Numbers:
Four of the five Grizzlies starters finished in double-digits.
What They Said ...
Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins:
“Give the Pelicans tons of credit. They played amazing tonight and were firing on all cylinders. They’ve been playing great, and they proved it again tonight. Jrue Holiday stepped in and set a tone for them, but [Brandon] Ingram’s playing well as are the guys off their bench. They played great, and we didn’t have it today. Just timing was off and all of that. I’m proud of the guys competing, and we cut it down to five. It was definitely ugly for a good majority of the game. It was a product of them playing great and us really not playing that good. I’m proud of the guys, but we’ve just got to turn a corner and get ready for the next game.”
On how much defensive movement affected offensive movement: “I’ll have to go back and watch. I felt like we were trying to switch a lot and just our communication wasn’t there. It was there sporadically throughout, and they ran a whole lot of movement, But if we’re switching, we should be able to stop all that movement and just keep it in front. That’s where I said that they played great but there were miscues on our part for sure. Offensively, I felt like we didn’t really have the timing, regardless of what was going on on the defensive end. We’ll be better. Guys have been playing hard and their spirits were great. They were trying and trying, but we just didn’t have it. We could’ve easily just put our head down and folded, but to take it from a 21-point lead down to five, that’s impressive and indicative of the competitive team we have. They fought until the end as tough as it was.”
Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr.:
On how this game demonstrated the team’s ability to fight out of a deficit: “We always do that no matter what the situation is. We’re going to fight; we’re not going to lay down for anybody. We’re not going to go out sad. I’m glad we brought it in the fourth, but we need to bring it earlier.”
On whether this loss is a wake-up call for the matchup with Boston: “Yeah, we have to come out stronger. Boston’s a good team, and especially at their crib, they’re going to be loud. Lot of good scorers there. So, just come out strong, throw the first punch, and keep it going.”
Grizzlies guard Ja Morant:
On team’s performance: “They made shots. They had career nights. We missed shots… It’s just one of those nights, I guess. Nobody likes losing. That’s no good, but we are turning the page. We play in two days, travel and practice tomorrow, watch film and go into the next game as if tonight didn’t happen. I was in the bed for like three quarters. We got a spark in the fourth quarter, but we fell short.”
On the fourth-quarter run: “I think it shows our fight. We just kept playing until the buzzer sounded. They had some tough baskets late that sealed the win. I think we were down almost 30 points, and we cut it to like five points. It just shows our fight with the players we got. It just shows that we are going to compete and never give up.”
All Is Not Lost
While it is true that the Grizzlies lost Monday night, it shouldn't negate the progress we’ve seen from this team in the past 10 games. One thing fans should take comfort in is that the young squad continued to fight right up until the last possession.
Who Got Next:
After a six-game homestand, the Grizzlies are heading back on the road. First to Boston, where they will face off against the Celtics on Wednesday, and then off to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Friday.