The Memphis Grizzlies look for their seventh straight win Monday night when they face the Spurs in the second game of a back-to-back set in San Antonio.
The Grizzlies won the first game on Saturday, 129-112, leading throughout before pulling away late behind Ja Morant’s 19 points and 11 assists and double-figure scoring by seven Memphis players.
Memphis recorded season bests in 3-pointers (17) and points scored and matched its season best in assists (34).
“We are continuing to grow as a team and players are stepping up for us big time,” Morant said. “Once we play our type of basketball, good things will happen. We’ve been doing that lately, and that’s six games we’ve won (in a row).”
Memphis was playing for the first time since Jan. 18 after having five games postponed over the past two weeks because of COVID-19 issues that limited player availability.
De’Anthony Melton added a game-high 20 points for Memphis, with Kyle Anderson hitting for 16, Desmond Bane and Gorgui Dieng scoring 15 points apiece, and Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke tallying 14 each.
“Our bench was huge for us tonight,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “I thought Gorgui had an unbelievable game, Desmond had an unbelievable game and (Melton) had a tremendous game. When you get that production up and down the roster, it’s great to see.”
The Grizzlies played Saturday without usual starters Grayson Allen and Jonas Valanciunas, who were both out due to “health and safety protocols.” Valanciunas is with team and could play Monday.
The Spurs were playing the second of a home back-to-back after beating Denver on Friday and appeared a little worse for the wear. San Antonio fell to 0-3 on the second night of back-to-backs this season. The contest was a classic case of the Grizzlies’ fresh legs — really fresh, in fact — versus San Antonio’s tired ones.
Still, San Antonio cut an 18-point third-quarter Grizzlies’ lead to five, at 110-105, with 5:03 to play. That’s when fatigue — and Memphis’ 3-point shooting — took over, as back-to-back shots from beyond the arc by Brooks and Morant’s floating jumper produced an 8-0 run that allowed the Grizzlies to build enough of a cushion to waltz to the finish line.
“Everybody plays back-to-backs and three in four nights, and it probably showed a little bit on us, but everybody goes through it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “You just have to play. You know, we got outplayed tonight, that’s the bottom line. I’m not gonna do a clinic for you — we got out played.”
Derrick White, in his first action since missing 14 games with a broken toe, paced the Spurs with 18 points.
Dejounte Murray had 15 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 14, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV and Rudy Gay scored 12 points each, and Patty Mills racked up 10 for San Antonio, which had a three-game win streak snapped.
“We just got to pick up our physicality,” White said. “Memphis shot it really well, made a lot of floaters and tough twos. We’ve just got to watch the film — we’ve got them coming back here Monday so there’s a lot for us to work on.”
–Field Level Media