The Memphis Grizzlies played a highly anticipated game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, their first since the playoff series and the Rudy Gobert trade. National television spotlights and a new City kit added to the vibe of the game.
You could tell the adrenaline was coming early — long shots and stupid fouls. However, the offensive firepower is hot from the start. The first quarter felt like a duel between the duo of Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant and Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. They swap barrels fairly seamlessly. The Grizzlies attacked the Wolves’ airdrops in mid-range games, and the Wolves found their way to the paint and the free-throw line. The Grizzlies ended the first quarter with a 33-30 lead.
The Grizzlies extended their lead to 13 points from halftime at the start of the second quarter. While Desmond Bane has found his groove during this stretch, good passing and defensive stops have fueled the game. Foul trouble began to loom over both teams, with Towns picking up his fourth foul — while Rudy Gobert, Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke each picked up their third. The first half ended with a dizzying trade between Ja Morant and Anthony Edwards, and the Grizzlies ended the second quarter with a 72-63 lead.
The Timberwolves started the third quarter with more urgency, gradually shrinking the Grizzlies’ lead. Then, Desmond Bane happened. Although Ja Morant was ruled out midway through the quarter with foul trouble, Bain stepped up and provided the offensive power necessary to fend off Minnesota’s surge — scoring 11 points and dishing out two assists. The Grizzlies regained their defensive advantage and entered the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead (96-84).
The Memphis Grizzlies maintained their momentum in the fourth quarter, holding a double-digit lead for most of the time. Ja Morant made a quick pit stop to Lob City in this one — back-to-back alley-oops with Brandon Clarke and Santi Aldama.
Ja Morant then fouled Karl-Anthony Towns 1-1 for his sixth foul of the game. The Grizzlies eventually handled a game and won 114-103 at the end of the fourth quarter.
- The Grizzlies use Rudy Gobert as part of their defense. The Grizzlies made the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year ineffective. They attack him in the pick-and-roll, using the separation created by screens and switches to get to the sweet spot for their shot. The Grizzlies also just attacked the paint relentlessly without really caring about Gobert protecting the rim. Their aggressiveness set the tone for the Grizzlies, who fought their way to victory.
- The Grizzlies handle business like great teams. The Grizzlies are united in this game. They locked on target from the start, and their execution and sense of urgency was rock solid. The Grizzlies have had some storms, mostly 3-point shooting issues and a few runs for Minnesota. However, they stayed calm, stuck to their game plan, and emerged victorious.
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