Wednesday, February 19, 2020

In Shy's Corner: These Grizzlies Exude Confidence

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 12:15 PM

One thing that can be said about the Memphis Grizzlies is that the young team ‘ain’t never scared' to compete with any team in the league. This bunch has told the entire NBA: “We ready, (we ready) … For y’all.”

Star rookie Ja Morant always exhibits with the confidence of David against Goliath: “Whoever I’m going against put on their shoes the same way I do, there is nothing I should be afraid of.”

Morant and his teammates truly believe they can compete against any team in the league — and it's showing. The team has a chip on its shoulder and is proving doubters wrong.

After a recent win against the Washington Wizards, Morant talked about the mentality of the team. He said, “It feels like we’re all just preaching the same thing. We have this mentality to just fight to the end, go out and compete. At the end, just try to get a win.”

In that interview, the three-time NBA Rookie of the Month took a shot at the haters for doubting the Grizzlies, “What were we supposed to win, 26 games this year? I think we just passed that. Appreciate you all who bet against us,” the Murray State alum said. 

The South Carolina native can back up his talk with his play on the court. In his first NBA season, Morant is averaging 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 7.1 assists in 29 minutes. He’s also Mr. Fourth quarter; Morant is ranked fourth in the league in fourth-quarter scoring with an average of 7.6 points. 

The 20-year-old is also the front-runner for the 2020 Rookie of the Year Award.

The other half of the dynamic duo, Jaren Jackson, Jr., has the same attitude as Morant. Jackson sat down with HoopsHype during All Star Weekend and shared his thoughts on proving everyone wrong.

The Michigan State alum said, “It was definitely motivating, because nobody really thought that we’d be in this position at this point. People just said to us, “Oh, you have time. Don’t worry about it! You’re young!” We kind of were just like, “We don’t care.” That’s how we play and how we are — we just don’t care.”

Jackson continued, “When we go out there, you have to put five on the court, just like we have to put five on the court. It don’t matter if you’re young or old. There’s only one basketball. You have to literally beat us down if you want to win this game against us, because we like to compete. We’ll have off nights, for sure. But at the end of the day, we’re going to play hard.”

Jackson also has the receipts to back up his talk. In his sophomore season, his TS% (true shooting percentage) is an exceptional 59 percent. Jackson is averaging 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, with 1.7 blocks (ranked 9th) per game in 28.1 minutes. 

Another young Grizz, Dillon Brooks, feels the same way as his teammates. (“Dillon Brooks always talks shit,” said one of my colleagues who covers an opposing Western Conference team.)

So it wasn’t surprising Brooks was the one who called out former Grizzlies asset Andre Iguodala near the trade deadline. According to the Commercial Appeal’s Mark Giannotto, Brooks said, “A guy that’s on our team doesn’t want to be on our team. I can’t wait til we find a way to trade him so we can play him and show him what really Memphis is about.”

Brooks got support for his remarks from his teammates and Grizzlies fans. Eventually, Iggy was traded in a deal to the Miami Heat, along with Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill. The Grizzlies ended up with Justise Winslow, Gorgui Dieng, and Jordan Bell when the dust settled. 

Brooks had some parting shots for Iggy after the trades were finalized. 

Brooks is having a career year with 15.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. The third-year guard only played 18 games last season due to injury, after playing all 82 games in his rookie season. Memphis is 17–1 when Brooks scores 20 or more points.

The Grizzlies are 28–26, two games above .500, and have a hold on the eight seed in the Western Conference, with a five-game lead in the loss column on Portland. 

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Real Talk: The One Where I Walk It Back for the Stretch Run

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 11:35 AM

Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr.


As everyone is winding down from the excitement of All-Star Weekend and we enter the stretch run to the end of the regular season, now seems like a good time to publicly rescind a thing that I said here in this space last month.

At the time, it seemed like a pretty reasonable position – this early in a rebuild, the playoffs shouldn’t be the season’s goal, and thus the Grizzlies should continue their focus on developing as a team, not altering plans in a pursuit to win now.

It was not meant to disparage any part of this fledgling squad. I didn’t realize how many people would misinterpret it or just be plain mad about it. I’m looking at you, Memphis Twitter. 


But now the trade deadline has passed and with it my biggest fear (an ill-advised roster move in an effort to win now). The Grizzlies seem to have landed organically in the 8th seed, so I’m ready to reconsider my previous position on the playoffs. 

Two things have set us on this path. One, this team has been light years better than anyone expected. Two, other teams in the West have been a lot worse than expected.

It’s amazing how much can happen in the space of a month. Since I published that article in early January, the Grizzlies have played 16 games, posting a 12-4 record, including a seven-game winning streak.

During that time we have also seen: a career-high scoring game from Brandon Clarke, Ja Morant’s first NBA triple-double, and the aforementioned players, plus Jaren Jackson Jr. playing in the Rising Stars Challenge game during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Along the way the team has managed to surpass the overall expected win total they were predicted to have, with still 28 games left to play in the regular season.  


This squad has absolutely proven me wrong and I am not above admitting that.

They truly are so much better than anyone anticipated, and I can’t recall having this much fun watching winning Grizzlies basketball in years.

There is a part of me will always feel sentimental about the Core Four era of Grit 'n Grind. That team meant a lot to this city, and even in today’s RINGZ culture, that still means something. 


But I have quickly grown to love the new GNG era, the #GrzNxtGen one. If this is the future of our franchise, I will take it.

So, in conclusion: F*ck it, let’s go to the playoffs. 

Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Grizzlies' Rising Stars at NBA All-Star Weekend

Posted By on Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 1:15 PM

clarke-morant-jackson.jpg

Brandon Clarke went up against teammates Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson, Jr. in the NBA Rising Stars game. Clarke started on Team World while Morant and Jackson started on Team USA. The game began with Morant lobbing to Jackson for a bucket, but Clarke had the best stats of the trio. 

The Canadian finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, and two assists, including some dazzling dunks. Jackson had 12 points and seven rebounds and Morant added 10 points and six assists, including some highlight plays, to lift Team USA to a 151–131 win. 

After the game, Clarke spoke to the media about playing against his teammates. “I was just kind of in awe watching them really,” Clarke said about Morant and Jackson. "So I wasn’t really telling my teammates what they were going to do. I actually would just say, 'Jaren is pulling left heavily,' which he did. But that’s pretty much it.”

Clarke added “It’s kind of cool guarding Ja, because I see why he is so tough to guard. I think he had a really good finish going left on me and I see why that shot is so hard to block. I’ve seen Ja do that move so much going left and doing that double layup and I still couldn’t stop it. So it shows how hard it is to guard him.”

Ja Morant talked about playing against Clarke.  “Brandon [Clarke]? It definitely was,” Morant said when asked if it was odd playing against his teammate. “I kind of knew what he was going do, though. So, I got out of the way on a couple dunks. I tried to box him out early because I know he likes getting rebounds and then dunking it back.” 

“We are just young, very athletic and just get out and run,” Morant said about the Grizzlies team. “I feel like we all have something to prove. We just go out with this chip on our shoulder. We keep proving people wrong.”

More quotes from Morant:

What was it like to play with all those guys you have never played before?

It was nice. I mean, like they said, Rising Stars. That’s what this game is for, for guys coming up in the league trying to be big-time players. Definitely special playing with the best young talent in this NBA.

Can you talk about your first NBA All-Star experience?
It was just having fun. I attack every game the same way. Obviously today is not the same as playing with the Grizzlies, but still have fun.

Any butterflies for this game?
No, I don’t even get nervous for games anymore. I feel like at the end of the day, it’s basketball and there is nothing I should be afraid of, because whoever I’m going against put on their shoes and stuff the same way I do. 

How do you feel about being in your first NBA All-Star and doing all the NBA Cares stuff in this city and the message it sends to the local youth?
It’s special. Had fun, enjoyed every bit of everything that I was involved in this weekend. Hopefully, I’ll be in a lot more. 

What kind of things are you looking forward to this coming weekend?
Enjoying it, that’s it. Having fun. It’s my first one. My family is here and we are all going to enjoy it.

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, February 10, 2020

Morant Saves the Day as Grizzlies Top Wizards 106–99

Posted By on Mon, Feb 10, 2020 at 3:59 PM

Ja Morant
  • Ja Morant

Is anyone else sensing a pattern here? It will almost certainly not be the last time we witness Ja Morant put this Grizzlies team on his shoulders, but watching it against the Wizards on Monday reminded me of just how special a player this young man is. Down five heading into the 4th quarter, and by as much as 12 earlier in the match, it seemed as though it was all over but the shouting. Spoiler alert: Reader, it was not. 

It’s a bird...it’s a plane...it’s SuperJa! 

If you didn’t think some variation of that phrase last night during the 4th quarter of the Grizzlies @ Wizards game, do you even basketball? 

Messed Around and Got a Triple-Double
Morant achieved his first ever NBA triple-double against the Wizards. When the dust had cleared, Morant led all scorers with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.


The Good
Ja Morant’s 4th quarter heroics combined with some lockdown defense won the game, as Memphis was able to hold Washington to just 14 points on 4-25 shooting in the final frame. 

Brandon Clarke finished the night with 9 points and 6 rebounds, including a clutch 3-point make in the 4th that helped spur the team to victory. 

The Grizzlies came up big in the 4th on both the offensive and defensive glass, with 6 offensive rebounds and 17 defensive rebounds. You did read that correctly, Memphis had 23 boards in just the 4th quarter. Most of those rebounds came courtesy of ... you guessed it: Ja Morant.
Overall, the Grizzlies won the rebounding battle with 62 total boards to the Wizards 50. 


The Bad and the Ugly
Once again, outside shooting woes plagued the squad, with just 5-of-32 makes from distance. This is the second game in a row where the Grizzlies have struggled to get outside shots to fall. Free throws were also a struggle as the Grizzlies went 15-of-25 from the charity stripe.

Turnovers remain a problem for Memphis as well, as does preventing their opponent from converting those turnovers into points. Case in point - the Wizards scored 18 points off the Grizzlies 15 turnovers. 

The Grizzlies might have the highest assist percentage in the league, but the Wizards came out ahead with 25 assists on 35 made baskets, while Memphis had just 19 assists on 43 made baskets. 

Jaren Jackson Jr.  and Dillon Brooks both got into foul trouble early. Unfortunately, this is a familiar story from Jackson Jr.  and Brooks this season, and an area I hope we will see some improvement on after the All-Star break. 

 

By The Numbers:

Ja Morant – 27 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists 

Kyle Anderson – 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists 

Jaren Jackson Jr. - 14 points, 11 rebounds 

Jonas Valanciunas – 8 points, 18 rebounds, 2 blocks 

Tyus Jones- 13 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists 

 

Who Got Next?
The Grizzlies will return to their home court Wednesday night, as they face off against the Portland Trail Blazers in the last game before the All-Star break. Tip-off is at 7PM CST

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Oh, What a Night! Grizzlies Win — On the Court and Off

Posted By on Thu, Feb 6, 2020 at 10:51 AM

What a Wednesday night for the Memphis Grizzlies! The team was in Dallas to face the Mavericks when a pending trade was announced and Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill were pulled from the lineup. 

The Grizzlies have traded Andre Iguodala to the Miami Heat, according to ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski. And Justice Winslow is part of the trade package that has yet to be officially announced, as other teams are reportedly trying to finish a deal with the Grizzlies and the Heat. The trade deadline expires today at 2 p.m. CST. 

Meanwhile, on the court, a short-handed Grizzlies team went up against the Mavericks, who were without their star player, Luka Doncic. The Grizzlies pulled off the victory, 121–107. 

Tyus Jones - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Tyus Jones

The Grizzlies bench outscored the Dallas second unit 54–26, led by point guard Tyus Jones, who finished with a career-high 19 points, including 13 in the third quarter. Jones ended with a perfect night, going 8-of-8 from the field along with 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. The former Duke product became the second player in franchise history to shoot 100 percent from the field (min. 8 FGA) and make at least three three-pointers since Vince Carter did it on March 13, 2017. 

Also contributing off the bench were Brandon Clarke ended with 18 points, six assists, and three rebounds in 24 minutes of play, and De’Anthony Melton, who added 10 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. 

Starter Ja Morant put up a team-high 21 points off of 10-of-12 shooting, with three assists, while Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 19 points, going 7-of-15 from the field and 4-of-8 from the 3-point line. The win improved the Grizzlies to 26–25, putting the team over .500 for the first time this season. 

For Dallas, Kristaps Porzingis had a game-high 32 points (10–20 FG, 5–11 3P), 12 rebounds, and two assists. Jalen Brunson chipped in 20 points, six assists, and two rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting. Tim Hardaway Jr. totaled 14 points and six rebounds. Former Grizzlies Courtney Lee added eight points, going 3-of-4 from the field. 

Dillon Brooks - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Dillon Brooks
Dillon Brooks' contract extension
The Grizzlies also announced last night that the team has signed guard/forward Dillon Brooks to a multi-year contract extension. Reportedly, the deal is worth $35 million dollars over three years. 

In his third NBA season, the 2017 Pac-12 Player of the Year is averaging 16.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 28.4 minutes through 51 games and is the only Grizzlies player to play and start in every game this season. Brooks has earned his way to being a part of the future of the franchise, alongside Morant and Jackson, Jr. 

His teammates took to Twitter to congratulate him on the his new deal. 

Quotes from Jaren Jackson Jr.

On going 13–3 over the past 16 games:

“Honestly, we usually forget these kinds of things, but it’s cool to hear it. It’s one of those things where you just have to take the good and the bad but keep understanding that there’s always more to be done. We don’t really dwell on anything too much but it’s nice to hear these things.”

On not having their veteran players on the court:
“It was tough. I experienced it last year. It was the same kind of thing. Everybody got moved right before the OKC game last year and that was tough. You kind of get a feel for what may happen, but you’re never really ready for it. I’m just glad we won.”

On growing from adversity:
“We just tell everybody in the locker room that it’s time to be a pro. We have to show why we’re here. It’s not just about playing hard. At the end of the day, this is our job. We signed up for a lot more than just a game itself, and sometimes that brings emotions. You don’t have to forget about your emotions. You just have to channel them the right way. Channel them to winning and doing good things. That’s what they would’ve wanted us to do anyway.” 

Who Got Next?
The Grizzlies will continue their road tour on Friday, February 7 to face the Philadelphia 76ers at 6 p.m.

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Real Talk: What Should the Grizzlies Do With Andre Iguodala?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2020 at 2:02 PM

Andre Iguodala - NBA.COM
  • NBA.com
  • Andre Iguodala

As the NBA trade deadline looms ahead, the media conversation around what the Grizzlies should do with Andre Iguodala has started up once again. It has been an interesting conversation, to say the least, and lots of people have had lots to say about it. Including some of the Grizzlies' young core, via locker room quotes and social media.  




For those who have been living under a rock this NBA season and haven’t kept up with this whole Iguodala mess, here is a brief rundown:  


  • Golden State sent Iguodala and a 1st round pick to Memphis, so they could make room to sign D’Angelo Russell.
  • Iguodala had been very publicly adamant about his refusal to suit up for the Grizzlies and made it clear he wouldn’t report to training camp. 
  • Rather than stir up drama going into the season, the Grizzlies allowed him to sit out, ostensibly until a trade was found for him.

  • Iguodala made it clear he was not willing to negotiate with the Grizzlies on an equitable buyout, demanding his entire contract value. 

  • Throughout the course of the season, Iguodala has made several public remarks with some not-so-thinly veiled shade towards Memphis.
  • Now the trade deadline is quickly approaching, and it appears Iguodala has made it known through his agent that if he isn’t traded to one of his preferred teams, he is prepared to sit out the rest of the NBA season. 

Which brings us to where we are now.

It has been said that there was a mutual agreement before the season started between the Grizzlies front office and Iguodala, in which the latter doesn’t have to participate in anything team-related while waiting for a trade or a buyout.


This is where the Grizzlies front office may have shot themselves in the foot, as that decision makes it a lot harder for them to do the thing they should have done from the start – order him to report and then fine him for every day that he doesn’t. 

However, it is important to note the order in which these things happened, before declaring that the Grizzlies are the bad guys here. There is a provision in the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which seems written for situations such as this.
According to Article XI, Section 3:

“A player who withholds playing services called for by a Player Contract for more than thirty (30) days after the start of the last Season covered by his Player Contract shall be deemed not to have “complet[ed] his Player Contract by rendering the playing services called for thereunder.” Accordingly, such a player shall not be a Veteran Free Agent and shall not be entitled to negotiate or sign a Player Contract with any other professional basketball team unless and until the Team for which the player last played expressly agrees otherwise.”

 

It is unclear if the Grizzlies could pursue this option, since there is nothing in writing excusing Iguodala’s absence. Likely this would cause more drama than the front office wants to deal with, but if I’m part of this front office I would definitely investigate this option further. While we are at it, the league should keep the same energy with Iguodala's public comments that they had for Dewayne Dedmon after he made public comments about desiring a trade.

Here’s what they should NOT do under any circumstances: give Iguodala any sort of buyout or waive him from the team while he can still go join a playoff contender. Let him sit until this summer, and try his luck on the market as a free agent.

 

The Grizzlies' former Vice President of Basketball Operations John Hollinger seems to be thinking along these same lines. 


With roughly two days to go until the NBA trade deadline, whatever happens will likely happen soon. 

Tags: , , , , ,

Grizzlies Win Battle of Big Men, Beat Pistons, 96-82

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2020 at 7:30 AM

Jonas Valanciunas - SHARON BROWN
  • Sharon Brown
  • Jonas Valanciunas

On throwback jersey night, it was the return of the NBA big men.

Jonas Valanciunas seems to enjoy it when he goes to battle against a true opposing big man. On Monday night he went up against Detroit's Andre Drummond. Valanciunas led the Grizzlies with a team-high 26 points (13-of-19), 17 rebounds, four blocks, and two assists. His counterpart Drummond was equally impressive with 25 points, 18 rebounds, and four assists. 

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey spoke about centers in the NBA before the matchup and talked about Valanciunas, whom he coached in Toronto. “In the new NBA, that’s what it is,” Casey said. “That’s why I’ve seen a kid like [Jonas] Valanciunas grow. I remember the first few years, he wanted post-ups, he wanted touches and all this. I said, ‘Hey, that’s not the way it is.’” 

Casey continued with praise of Valanciunas, “Every year he got better and better at understanding that those mundane things are just as important as hollow points you might put up, the verticality, the screening, the rolling, the catching and making good decisions. It’s not flashy, your name doesn’t get in the paper, but those teams win when those guys accept those roles and do that job. It’s not fun, but it’s a very valuable position to develop and to be in.”

The Grizzlies defeated the Pistons 96–82, to give rookie coach Taylor Jenkins his 25th win of the season. Memphis is now 25–25 on the season while the Pistons fell to 18–34. 

Taylor Jenkins - NBA.COM
  • NBA.com
  • Taylor Jenkins

On Monday afternoon, Jenkins was named Western Conference Coach of the Month by the NBA for January. This is his first career coach of the month honor. The first-year coach led his team to an 11–4 record in January which tied for the highest winning percentage (.733) in the Western Conference. The last time a Grizzlies coach was named coach of the month was Dave Joerger in November 2014. At age 35, Jenkins is the youngest person to earn Coach of the Month honors since Lawrence Frank in April 2005.

Before the game, Jenkins spoke about the honor: “It is an honor for sure and very humbling. It is something that I am excited about because I am excited for the entire organization  —  from our players to the coaching staff, our entire staff, the performance staff, the front office, everyone that goes into what we did in the month of January.”

He went on to say, “It is a great reflection of all of the hard work and everyone growing every single day. Obviously, it is translating to some success on the court. Just very excited for everyone involved. It was great to get the congratulations from everyone but we are now focused on a great month of February.”

Rookie guard Ja Morant praised Jenkins after the win: “He’s almost the same as me, giving credit to a lot of us, but he deserves it. He has us ready each and every game and pushes us in practice. [Tonight] was just one of those games where he knew what type of game it was, and he knew exactly how to make us come out with a win.”

By the Numbers
After scoring 53 points in the first half, the Pistons were held to just 29 points in the second half. The Pistons only scored 10 points in the third period, while going 3-of-25 from the field. Both numbers are season-lows from Grizzlies opponents this season.   

The Grizzlies won the points in the paint battle 68–50 (+18).

Memphis had a season-high 12 blocks; Detroit had 5 (+7)

The Grizzlies have won 12 of their last 14 games in Memphis after starting the season 3–11 at home. 


Player stats

Grizzlies

Valanciunus also secured his 24th double-double of the season, and it’s the third game this season in which he finished with at least 25 points and 15 rebounds. The big man finished with a +28.

Dillon Brooks tallied 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists while shooting 7-of-15 from the field. Jaren Jackson Jr. had a bad shooting night (3-of-10) but he ended with 14 points by going 8-of-9 from the charity stripe along with five rebounds, three blocked shots, and two assists. 

In 21 minutes, Tyus Jones led the bench squad with 13 points and five assists with zero turnovers. Morant finished with 12 points and a team-high seven assists.


The Other Guys

Drummond tallied his 41st double-double of the season, which ties Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo for the most double-doubles of the season. Lang Galloway and Christian Wood finished with 17 points apiece off the bench. 

Up Next

Grizzlies will start a three-game road trip with a stop in Dallas on Wednesday night. The Mavericks will be without Luka Doncic, who is out due to an ankle injury. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center.

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, January 31, 2020

Rising Stars Challenge Looks to Be Very Grizzly

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 11:56 AM

Brandon Clarke, Ja Morant, and Jaren Jackson Jr.
  • Brandon Clarke, Ja Morant, and Jaren Jackson Jr.



The selections for the Rising Stars Game held during NBA All-Star Weekend were announced this morning, and there are three Memphis Grizzlies on the Team USA and Team World rosters. 

Brandon Clarke, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Ja Morant have been selected to participate in this year’s Rising Stars Game. Clarke will be suiting up for Team World, while Jackson Jr. And Morant will be representing Team USA on the court. 


Congratulations are in order for these three members of the #GrzNxtGen.

See the full roster for both teams here.

Want to watch the game? 

The 2020 Rising Stars Game  will tip-off at 8 pm CST on February 14, 2020, airing nationally on TNT. 

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Grizzlies Smoke Nuggets in First Wire-to-Wire Win of the Season

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 1:14 PM


The Memphis Grizzlies successfully defended their home court Tuesday night against the Denver Nuggets, coming away with a 104-96 victory and securing their first wire-to-wire win of the season. And defend it they did, holding Denver to a rare sub-100-point game. 

Dillon Brooks, Taylor Jenkins - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Dillon Brooks, Taylor Jenkins

There were a lot of things to be excited about from this game if you’re a Grizzlies fan. 
Winning is always great, but some of the things they did to secure the win were spectacular to watch. Jaren Jackson Jr. finishing the night with only one personal foul feels like a victory in its own right. As does Memphis scoring 20 points off of 19 Denver turnovers.

By The Numbers:
Dillon Brooks - 24 points, 3 assists
Jonas Valanciunas - 23 points, 12 rebounds
Ja Morant - 14 points, 7 assists, 4 steals
Jaren Jackson Jr. - 10 points, 7 bocks
Brandon Clarke - 12 points, 6 rebounds



We Go Hard in the Paint
The Grizzlies outscored the Nuggets 76-22 in the paint. Yes, you read that correctly —SEVENTY-SIX PAINT POINTS. On a night when making outside shots is a struggle, the ability to score in the paint is especially valuable — a lesson the young Grizzlies appear to have learned.

Per Grizzlies PR: “This is the second-highest paint scoring total in franchise history behind the record of 78 set on Feb. 26, 2011 vs. Sacramento. This is the third time this month that Memphis, the most-prolific paint-scoring team in the NBA this season, has scored at least 70 points in the paint.”


We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends
32 assists on 46 made field goals? Yes, please! This was yet another game in which the Grizzlies had 30 or more assists, bringing that total to 18 games so far this season. Memphis also currently leads the league in assists per game.

Jaren Jackson Jr. Would Like to Invite You to the Block Party
While tying his career-high of 7 blocks, Jackson Jr. also extended his career-best streak of games with multiple threes made and multiple blocks to five games.



Free At Last, Maybe?
With Grayson Allen, Bruno Caboclo, and Jae Crowder all sidelined due to injuries, Coach Jenkins has had to get a bit more creative with lineups. He's also called up two-way players Yuta Watanabe and John Konchar, as well as swingman Josh Jackson.

John Konchar scored his first NBA points during 12 minutes of playing time. Both Yuta Watanabe and Josh Jackson were listed as DNP-Coach's Decision.

Time will tell if the calls to #FreeJoshJackson have actually been heeded for real.
Jackson has spent the entirety of the season to date playing with the Grizzlies G-league affiliate, the Memphis Hustle.

Who Got Next?
The Grizzlies are headed to "The World's Most Famous Arena" to face off against the New York Knicks on the second game of a back-to-back. Tip-off is at 6:30 PM CST, and a win against the Knicks would put the Grizzlies at .500 for the season. 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Monday, January 27, 2020

Grizzlies Beat the Suns; NBA Mourns Kobe Bryant

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 3:57 PM

kobe-bryant.jpg

The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Phoenix Suns 114–109 on Sunday night. But basketball was the furthest thing from most minds after the tragic death of NBA great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli Alyssa Altobelli,Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan in a helicopter crash in California.

Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins really didn’t want to talk about the game that had transpired before 17, 214 fans. All he wanted to talk about was the loss of Bryant. “Gutsy win by our guys, but I’m not really in the mood to talk about the game as much,” he said. “Obviously, today is a very tough one for a lot of people  —  the NBA community, the basketball world, the Bryant family, the families of those who have lost family members in a horrific crash today. I said it before the game, it’s obviously something that you don’t wish you were talking about.” 

Jenkins continued with his praise of Bryant, “Basketball-wise, to lose a legend, to lose an individual who made a profound impact on the court and off the court not only in the Los Angeles community, but globally. Kobe stood for so many great things  —  greatness, competitiveness, drive, commitment, inspired generations. So many of our young guys have been touched by what he paved the way for. There are really no words.” 

No words is really what many in the NBA community and fans around the world are feeling at this moment. It hit hard. 

Jenkins went on to say, “I’m fortunate to be up here today to be able to speak on behalf of our organization, our players. Words only mean so much. It is going to be tough to overcome, but hopefully everyone rallies around not just the families and the organizations, but everyone that has been touched by Kobe and his legacy. He’s carved an unbelievable path. As I said, I wish we weren’t talking about this today but we do have to find a way to celebrate. It’s very raw and emotional right now. Today’s game pales in comparison to the new reality we face without one of the best in the game.”

It was a raw emotional day after the news broke of Bryant’s demise. NBA games were still played and private grief became public. 


Ja Morant - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Ja Morant

Prior to tip off, the Grizzlies and the Suns honored Bryant with a moment of silence. After the Grizzlies won the opening tip, Ja Morant dribbled the ball for 24 seconds for a shot-clock violation, then the Suns’ Ricky Rubio held the ball for eight seconds for a backcourt violation to show respect to Bryant. Bryant wore numbers 8 and 24 during his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Everyone was on their feet chanting, Kobe! Kobe! Kobe! A very emotional moment in FedExForum. 


After the game, Jenkins explained the tributes to the fallen star. “When the news broke, you’re shocked  —  you don’t know what words to say, Jenkins explained. “My mind went immediately to those who had relationships with him, coached against him, coached with him, played with him, played against him. Finally, we got around to we have to be able to honor him at some point in our small part. A lot of credit goes to our head video guy, T.C. Swirsky. He talked about jersey 24. Can we somehow take a shot clock violation?”

Jenkins went on to say, “I contacted Monty [Williams] and he was thinking the exact same thing. I went over there and talked about how we could, in our small part, pay tribute. Unbelievable by our fans. Obviously, our organization doing a moment of silence, but the fans to chant his name. The players on the court to recognize the impact that those two possessions could have to bring, hopefully, a celebration in a very, very tough time. As I said, I think other teams are doing the same thing. It’s our small part. Now it’s on us to continue to celebrate this beautiful legacy gone way too soon.”


The Grizzlies won the season series against the Suns 3–1 after Sunday’s victory and improved to 22–24 on the year. 

Morant scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, to go with eight assists and five rebounds. Dillon Brooks added 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists. In 34 minutes, Jaren Jackson Jr. also tallied 20 points while going 7-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from the 3-point line, along with three rebounds and two blocks before fouling out late in the final period. Brandon Clarke chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds as a reserve. 

With the loss, the Suns dropped to 19–27 for the season. Devin Booker led all scorers with 36 points, five assists, and two rebounds. Kelly Oubre Jr. tallied 27 points, nine rebounds, and three assists while going 8-of-19 from the field. Deandre Ayton posted his 11th double-double of the season with 17 points, 15 rebounds and two assists. Former Grizzlies player Jevon Carter added eight points, two assists, and three steals off the bench.  

Quotables
Jaren Jackson, Jr.

On playing today after hearing of Kobe Bryant’s passing:

“To be honest, I didn’t feel like doing it, to keep it 100. You’ve got to be a pro. That’s what 2–4 (Kobe Bryant) stood for and there’s no better way to go out there and honor him than to play pro basketball and do what you love, so that’s what we did today. Both teams.”

On what Kobe Bryant means to him:

“Just for the game of basketball and in general and in life, he’s an icon and someone who we all saw growing up. Through all his runs, through everything, he was able to teach and to bring back to the younger playing through camps and Nike, just being able to do a lot. His impact is something that you can’t really fathom because it’s just so great. It definitely hurts.”

On whether playing the game helped him cope and forget about the loss of Kobe Bryant:

“No, it didn’t to be honest. It still hasn’t helped me forget. You ever just know you have to do something so you just try to figure it out and you find a way? That’s what we call it every day. You find a way o go out there and put your best effort out there, and thank God we got a win today. Despite the circumstances, I’m glad we came together as a team and got the job done.”

Who Got Next

The Grizzlies will host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, January 28, at 7 p.m.

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Grizzlies Fall to Pelicans 126–116

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 1:48 PM

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.  

 

dsc_1596.jpg

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.  

  • Jae Crowder continued to struggle offensively with just 2 points. 
  • Dillon Brooks tied his season-high with 31 points, and his career-high with 9         rebounds and 4 assists. 
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. finished the night with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
  • Ja Morant closed out with 16 points and 9 assists. 
  • Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, for his 21st double-double of the season. 

 

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.  

Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Next Generation Grizzlies Appear to Have Arrived

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 11:38 AM

Brandon Clarke against the Golden State Warriors
  • Brandon Clarke against the Golden State Warriors
Much to the surprise of pretty much everyone, this Grizzlies team has done a complete 180 from the team we saw at the start of the season.

Memphis has won eight of their last ten games and are now the proud owners of a league-high seven-game winning streak. For reference, the Grizzlies have not won seven consecutive games since 2015. Now they are sitting comfortably in the 8th seed, with no signs of slowing down. What a time to be alive.

The Kids Really Are Alright

It’s hard to overstate how special this has been — the group of young players who are making the team their own. If the future of the franchise is in their hands, the Memphis Grizzlies are going to be just fine.

Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke are the first- and second-best rookies in the league, respectively. Morant is a human highlight reel that makes his teammates better, with an incredibly high basketball IQ. Saying Morant should be the unanimous frontrunner for Rookie of the Year would be an understatement at this point. 




Clarke is just quietly good at almost everything, making a huge impact off the bench.
De’Anthony Melton has been incredibly valuable off the bench this season as well, currently averaging eight rebounds and six assists a game. Having a strong bench is especially important if one or more of your starters land in foul trouble during a game, a not unusual occurrence for the Grizzlies this season. 

Injury prevented him from having the sort of breakout rookie year he might have had otherwise, but Jaren Jackson is currently the fifth-best sophomore player in the league, and possibly one of the best shooting big men. He also leads the Grizzlies in total scoring this season with 729 points. 

Dillon Brooks is blossoming into the scoring threat we all hoped he would be. Brooks is tied with Morant as the Grizzlies second-best overall scorer, with 646 points to date. That the Grizzlies are undefeated when Brooks scores 20 or more is not a coincidence.


Can They Keep The Streak Alive?
The Grizzlies will finish up this six-game homestand on Monday, January 20th against the New Orleans Pelicans, as they go for their eighth-straight win. 

Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Grizzlies Hold Off Cleveland for Seventh Straight Victory

Posted By on Sat, Jan 18, 2020 at 11:56 AM

The Memphis Grizzlies knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers 113–109 on Friday night at FedExForum to extend their winning streak to seven straight games. The last time Memphis won seven consecutive games was in the 2014–2015 season. The Grizzlies now have the longest active winning streak in the NBA. 

Dillon Brooks - LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSKI
  • Lawrence Kuzniewski
  • Dillon Brooks

The Grizzlies are now 20–22 on the season and in the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Memphis is three games back of the 7th seed held by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Memphis is 14–6 in their last 20 games, after starting the season 6–16.

Dillon Brooks was the catalyst for this team’s victory. The Grizzlies are 13–0 when Brooks scores 20 or more points this season. Brooks led Memphis with 26 points (9–16 FG, 4–7 3P). The Oregon product has connected on multiple 3-pointers in eight of the last nine games. "This is the longest winning streak I’ve ever been on since I got here," Brooks said after the game. "Jaren [Jackson, Jr,] and I were just talking, and I was telling him ‘That’s the longest streak I’ve ever been on.’ And he was telling me, like, ‘You’ve seen it all.’ Like I told him, the longest streak I’d been on was like three games. I’ve seen this group grow from when I first got here, seeing the fans coming to the arena more, and it’s a great feeling, makes you want to play harder every time out."

"It can become great," said Brooks about the team's growth. "Even with some guys with foul trouble, guys can pick up the load. Every time, it comes to guys like Melt [De’Anthony Melton], Grayson [Allen], Tyus [Jones], Kyle [Anderson]. Those guys are always ready, even when guys like me or Jaren are in foul trouble. Guys are ready to step up."


The anticipated Rookie of the year, Ja Morant, was sensational once again. In 33 minutes, Morant finished with 16 points, 7-of-14 from the field, eight assists, five rebounds, and three steals. Before the game, Morant was awarded his second Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for the month of December. More than a thousand fans from his alma mater, Murray State, were at the game.   




Brandon Clarke was a spark off the bench with 15 points, three assists, and two rebounds while going 6 of 8 from the field. Meanwhile, Grayson Allen added 11 points and two assists on 5-of-6 shooting as a reserve. 


The Other Guys
Cleveland was led by Collin Sexton, who finished with 28 points (11-of-25 shooting), plus six assists and four rebounds. Kevin Love added 19 points to go with nine rebounds and two assists. Love was limited to 0-of-6 from three. Larry Nance Jr. added 16 points, six rebounds, and two steals on 7-of-8 shooting as a reserve. Alfonzo McKinnie garnered a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Cleveland. 

Tony Allen

Tony Allen is one of the Griz veterans whose future has yet to be decided. - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Tony Allen is one of the Griz veterans whose future has yet to be decided.

Before the game, Coach Taylor Jenkins confirmed that former Grizzlies guard Tony Allen is now a player development coach for the Memphis Hustle. Jenkins' statement:

“I am super excited. At the start of the year, Tony came to us and talked about his passion for the organization. When we sat down and he talked about how much he could not wait to get back, we tried to find a good opportunity. It took us some time to figure out what would make sense. Allowing him to dive into player development, which he is passionate about, we thought the Memphis Hustle would be a good avenue for him. He knows the game. He loves the game. We think he will be a great teacher of the game with the things that he does on his own. But to give back to the team that meant so much to him, it is going to be awesome to have him in the fold.”


Who Got Next
The Grizzlies will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a 4 p.m. tip. It will be broadcast regionally on FOX Sports Southeast and nationally on TNT. The game’s 15th annual Sports Legacy Award recipients will be former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes, former NBA stars Robert Parish and Caron Butler, and former NFL quarterback Doug Williams.

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, January 17, 2020

Grizzlies' Mid-Season Check-up

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 3:08 PM

At the beginning of the season, absolutely no one predicted the Memphis Grizzlies would be in playoff consideration. As of today, the Grizzlies are 19–22 on the season and in the 8th spot in the Western Conference. 

Ja Morant and Taylor Jenkins - LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSKI
  • Lawrence Kuzniewski
  • Ja Morant and Taylor Jenkins

The team was an afterthought for most around the league after trading Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz in the off-season. But Memphis is currently on a six-game win streak, a feat the team hasn’t accomplished since 2016. Shocker! 

This is a fun team and they are finding ways to win. Speaking of: “A lot of fun — it’s always fun to win,” rookie Ja Morant said after a huge win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. Morant added, “I’m having a lot of fun, enjoying every bit of it. Thankful and grateful to even be here to play for Memphis in front of this crowd with these guys. It’s a blessing.”

Who would have the audacity to think this young team would be any good and figuring out how to win so soon? Memphis’ last loss was a heartbreaker against the Sacramento Kings on January 2nd. 


Jae Crowder has provided value to the team with his veteran leadership, and he is a big part of the reason why this team is getting it done. After practice on Thursday afternoon, Crowder, the de facto locker room leader, says it’s a sense of urgency for the team in everything they do in practice, and with their attention to detail. Crowder said, “We have guys locked in right now, and it is paying off with wins, but we gotta stay the course and put our best foot forward every game.” One game at a time is his motto, and the elder statesman keeps preaching it to his teammates.

Crowder says it’s being like a proud father — seeing the growth of his teammates from the start of the season through 41 games. The Marquette product believes in accountability for himself, his teammates, and the coaching staff. 

Jae Crowder - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Jae Crowder

Crowder is not only a voice in the locker room but also a voice on the court. He says he tries to help the young guys on the floor when they make mistakes, and he says the veterans have look themselves in the mirror first — and walk the walk. 

Head Coach Taylor Jenkins is appreciative of Crowder on and off the court. After a recent game Jenkins said: “With him, the consistent quality is his leadership, and his communication with his teammates on the court and in the timeouts — even what is going on behind the scenes in the locker room — by what he is doing game in and game out getting the team together.”

Jenkins continued: “I lean on him a lot to communicate coverages or communicate to a player about a previous possession. He is just a great voice and another leader out there that can be an extension of me. He does it innately, which is awesome. He has done it at a high level. He knows what winning habits take and what they are. The fact that he is going out there and communicating and trying to showcase them as an example; it has been a great quality.”

Taylor Jenkins - NBA.COM
  • NBA.com
  • Taylor Jenkins

The first-year coach knows he has something to be proud of after 41 games of his rookie season. “We have been competing since Day 1 . We have been playing unselfish, and it was a struggle early, but we have gotten progressively better,” Jenkins said after the big win over the Rockets. 

Jenkins says he didn’t want to put himself or his team in a box, coming into the season. He wanted to focus on just competing, and he wanted his players to play as a team. He knew they team would figure it out eventually. 

The rookie coach added, “These guys come in and they embrace their mentality. It’s been at the forefront, so to be at the midway mark and to be 41 games in, we don’t even look at the records. Can we be that aggressive, disciplined, and unselfish team? We took huge steps, each game, these last couple of weeks, this last month. We are seeing some big-time growth individually, and that just translates into the team's growth.”

Jenkins believes that the team chemistry is a big part of their success. “I think our chemistry has been there for a majority of the season  —  we just hadn’t necessarily gotten the results. The consistency in our play has been there. We are playing with leads, playing from behind. The process in which we compete defensively and our execution of game plans is getting better. We definitely have our lapses here and there. Offensively, our unselfishness continues to be there, but it is consistent, too. Night in and night out, we are getting consistent production on both ends of the floor. Our bench has been huge for us the past couple of weeks. They are making impact with not only their scoring, but also rebounding and assisting especially. The fact that we are getting consistent play, the chemistry has been there. That has helped us get to this consistent stretch.”


One game at a time is how the Grizzlies are approaching the rest of the season. The players are aware that they have room to grow in the midst of the winning streak and know they can’t take any opponent lightly. Players just want to play basketball, have fun, and continue to win. Grizzlies fans need to continue to believe and enjoy the ride — because the future looks bright for these Memphis Grizzlies. 

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, January 13, 2020

Grizzlies Down Warriors, 122–102

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 10:21 AM

Adjustments in the second half were the key to the Grizzlies' victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday evening before more than 16,000 fans at FedExForum.

The Grizzlies improved to 18–22 for the season and extended their win streak to a season-high five straight games. It's the team’s longest winning streak since November 2018.

LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSKI
  • Lawrence Kuzniewski

“They were fantastic tonight in the second half,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr about the Grizzlies’ second-half performance. “They are having a really special season, when you think about it. From where they started and it being Taylor’s [Jenkins] first year to where they are now and what they have done the last few weeks, it is really impressive.”

Kerr added, “Tonight was really about Memphis continuing their play. They are one of the best stories in the league this year. What they showed us tonight was a complete effort. They were well-coached. They play hard. They play for each other. They play together. It was a great game for them.”

Playing together has been the Grizzlies’ philosophy all season  —  only now it has started to resonate for the guys on the floor. And that didn’t go unnoticed by Kerr. He said he thought Memphis had more confidence on Sunday night than they did in the game on November 19th. Kerr continued: “Now you can see they believe in what they are doing  — they believe in themselves and each other. I think they are in the eight spot right now if I’m not mistaken, so they are playing for the playoffs, they’re playing for each other, and they’re on a great run.”

The Return of the Big Man
In a recent interview with a Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital patient, Jonas Valanciunas was asked what he would change about the NBA. Valanciunas said, “Bring back the big man.” On Sunday afternoon, he brought back the big man in a decisive way. 

Valanciunas led Memphis with 31 points and 19 rebounds, while going 13 of 17 from the field, plus two blocked shots. He scored 15 of his 31 points in the third quarter. “It was a team win  —  it was not just running a play for me or someone else, you just shoot the ball, play together, find the open man,” said the Lithuanian native. “As I said earlier, it’s fun to play that way. The ball was coming to my hands. Tonight was my night. Maybe the next night, it’s going to be someone else’s night. We play that way, so it’s to our advantage.”

The Grizzlies’ center added, “We have a lot of areas to work on, to grow and get better on, but we’ve started moving towards the right direction, so it’s fun. It’s good to see.”

LAWRENCE KUZNIEWSK
  • Lawrence Kuzniewsk

When asked if the team upcoming schedule was important, Valanciunas replied, “Every game is important to us. We play extremely hard. We’re trying to set a mentality that we’re the hardest-playing team on the court. Every second we are trying to play hard. Find a guy on the floor. That’s our mentality. Those good teams coming in, we’ve got to play hard against them.”

This was Valanciunas’ 20th double-double of the season and his second game of at least 30 points and 15 rebounds. Valanciunas and Brandon Clarke combined for 30 of the Grizzlies 60 rebounds. To top it off, the Grizzlies’ center even went 2 of 4 from deep. 


Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 points (8–15 FG, 3–6 3P) while adding five rebounds and two blocks. Jackson Jr. has made a three-pointer in 28 consecutive games, now the second-longest streak in Grizzlies franchise history (Tyreke Evans, 31 straight games in 2017–18). 

In 19 minutes, Clarke chipped in nine points, a career-high-tying 11 rebounds and two assists while Ja Morant gained his sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 assists plus seven rebounds in 30 minutes. After the game Morant talked about the team's new-found success. He said, “It’s just we’re learning. We’re learning from our mistakes in the past and just getting better each and every day.”

Off the bench, Grayson Allen finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while going 3 of 3 from beyond the arc. 

The Other Guys

The Warriors dropped to 9–32 on the season. D’Angelo Russell led Golden State with a game-high 34 points (12–24 FG, 5–9 3P), seven rebounds, and four assists in 35 minutes. This marked his ninth 30+ point game of the season. Jordan Poole chipped in 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists while Alec Burks added 13 points and six rebounds.


Notable Numbers
The Grizzlies have now scored 110+ points in 11 consecutive games, marking the longest streak in franchise history and the longest active streak in the NBA.

Golden State lost its eighth straight game, the Warriors’ longest losing streak since the 2011–12 season.

Memphis out-rebounded Golden State 60–47 on the night, marking a new season-high for the Grizzlies. The previous season high was 56 on October 25th against the Bulls. The Grizzlies also garnered a new season-high for offensive rebounds in a game with 18. The previous season best was against the Miami Heat on December 16th. 

This is the fifth time in franchise history the team has grabbed 60-plus rebounds and the first time in a regulation game since February 9, 2009 vs New Orleans. The franchise record is 64. 

Memphis, which leads the league in points in the paint per game, recorded its 14th game this season with at least 60 paint points. The Grizzlies scored 62 points in the paint while the Warriors only scored 26. 

Memphis outscored Golden State 37–14 in fast break points, including 12–0 in the first quarter.

The Grizzlies bench outscored the Warriors bench 47–32 on the night.

Quotes from Jaren Jackson, Jr.
On how much the team has changed since last season: “It’s a blessing. You take it for what it’s worth. You understand that it’s because of the work that you’re putting in and you just take every game, enjoy the moment, and you move on. But, in that moment, you just thank God for putting you in the position you’re in to play on a team in which everybody’s personalities are meshing and where everybody is just serving one another to try to get everyone better.”

On the team’s ability to close out games:

“That’s the NBA, so I don’t really get nervous like that anymore about leads. I just know if we keep playing the right way, we’ll be fine, but once I see us getting out of character, that’s when you’ve got to dial back in and focus.”

On the Grizzlies’ ability to pull away in the second half of games:

“It’s the third quarters. We just put an emphasis on it to make sure we correct all the mistakes from the first half. We definitely come in (the locker room) and talk about little things, so we just try to replicate that and just correct all of the mistakes.”

Who Got Next
The Grizzlies continue their homestand against the James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday at FedExForum. Tip-off at 7 pm CST. 

Tags: ,

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2020

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation