Grizzlies Outlast Thunder



On a snowy Wednesday night in Memphis, the Grizzlies defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 122–113. Both teams played on the second night of a back-to-back. After losing to the New Orleans Pelicans 144–113 at home on Tuesday, Memphis fought its way to victory against a Thunder team that wouldn’t give up easily. The Thunder were coming off a disappointing loss to the Portland Trailblazers, 115–104, on Tuesday night.

Grayson Allen led the Grizzlies with 22 points, four rebounds, and four assists, while shooting 60 percent from the three-point stripe (6–10). Allen gave the team a big boost with 14 points in the fourth quarter, to help Memphis improve to 12-12 on the season. 

Jonas Valanciunas also finished with 22 points, and added 12 rebounds, to tally his 13th double-double of the season. Wednesday night was the fifth time this season Valanciunas had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Kyle Anderson added 20 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals to finish the night. Coach Taylor Jenkins was appreciative and complimentary of Anderson’s growth this season. By collecting five steals at the half, Anderson became the first Grizzlies player to hit that mark since Tony Allen, who had five against the Golden State Warriors on January 23, 2012. 

Jenkins said after the win, “KA [Kyle Anderson] is playing great and has found a lot of consistency this season. He dropped 20 points and had five assists, with versatility on the defensive end. We just want to put in that effort every single night. That is just great from Kyle. He has been having a heck of a season so far. It’s been a big factor for us this season. So hopefully, he continues to do that and find ways to get better. That is the number one goal for each of our guys and our team.”

Anderson remains confident: “Just being healthy and shooting with a lot of confidence. These last 18 to 24 months, I’ve put a lot of tedious, hard work into shooting the ball. I just remember long days and nights in the gym not shooting past 15 feet for two hours. You know, it’s just paying off finally. Just getting back to where I feel like I used to be with my shot and having the confidence.”

Ja Morant recorded his first triple-double of the season with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. “I feel like we are playing pretty good basketball,” Morant said after the game. “We still have some areas we can get better at, but to have six guys in double figures is big-time for us. It just shows that we have plenty of guys who can make plays.”

Morant discussed finding his teammates and accountability, “For me, it’s just studying film and talking with my teammates,” he said. “I tell them to always hold me accountable if they are open. If I miss them, I told them to curse me out.” 

“By watching the film with Coach [Jenkins] and talking with Coach [Jenkins], Morant continued. Normally when I come off of a ball screen, the defender is sitting at the nail, so it’s a quick pass. Guys are knocking down shots. Once they do that, the help leaves, and it opens up the rest of the floor for us to get downhill.”

Anderson talked about playing with Morant: “Ja makes the game easier for a lot of people when he’s aggressive whether it’s scoring the ball or sharing to setting us up with easy shots. He makes it really easier for us out there.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led his team with 22 points and six assists as the Thunder fell to 11–17 on the season. Mike Muscala chipped in 21 points while going 5-of-9 from three as a reserve. 

Up Next: 

The Grizzlies will host the Pistons on Friday to continue their four-game homestand. 

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