Bear Necessities: Key notes, numbers and trends entering Grizzlies-Hawks matchup
ATLANTA – Coming off an impressive home win over the Western Conference-leading Lakers, the Grizzlies (29-31) open a three-game trip Monday against the Hawks (19-43) at State Farm Arena.
Bear Necessities is a spotlight on key Grizzlies’ facts and trends, curated from Communication Manager Ross Wooden’s Game Notes, to stay informed entering tonight's matchup.
Here are a few things to watch:
- Two weeks after teaming up as the starting backcourt for a victorious Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant and Hawks second-year point guard Trae Young match up for the first time in their NBA careers. Morant, the three-time Western Conference Rookie of the Month, leads all first-year NBA players in scoring (17.7) and assists (7.0), Young leads all point guards in scoring (29.8) and is second overall in the league in assists (9.4) behind LeBron James.
- Morant and Young are also linked by another distinction. With 27 points and 14 assists in Saturday’s win over the Lakers, Morant recorded his second consecutive game with at least 20 points and 10 assists. He joined Young and Luka Doncic (both last season) as the only rookies since the start of the 2011-12 season with two straight games of 20 or more points and 10assists. Morant was also the second rookie in NBA history with at least 27 points and 14 assists against the Lakers, joining Oscar Robertson.
- The Grizzlies and Hawks have been two of the league’s hottest teams at home in recent weeks. The Grizzlies have won 10 of their last 12 in Memphis and the Hawks have won eight of their last 10 in Atlanta. The Grizzlies are looking to snap a four-game road losing streak since returning from the All-Star break, and are also seeking their first victory in Atlanta since 2017. The Hawks own the NBA’s fifth-worst record but are 11-11 in their last 22 games, including five wins over teams in current playoff position.
- Two key starters for the Grizzlies have emerged from recent slumps. Shooting guard Dillon Brooks is averaging 26 points in 35 minutes over his last three contests after scoring just 8.2 points a game in his previous six. Starting center Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 17.5 points and 22.5 rebounds in 31.5 minutes the last two games. His 45 total rebounds in those two games are the most in franchise history in a two-game stretch, and he’s the first Grizzlies player with consecutive games of 20 or more boards.
- The Grizzlies list Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee), Brandon Clarke (quad), Justise Winslow (back) and Grayson Allen (hip) as out for Monday’s game against the Hawks. All four players are expected to remain sidelined for the trip that continues Wednesday against Brooklyn and wraps up Friday against the Mavericks. Winslow, who has not played with the Grizzlies since being acquired at the Feb. 6 trade deadline, participated in Monday’s shootaround as he continues to progress toward a return to action.
For the Grizzlies complete game notes, check here: Grizzlies Game Notes