Postgame Report: Morant leads Grizzlies to 132-126 victory in overtime
Key Stat of the Night
- The Grizzlies scored a franchise record-tying 80 points in the paint, matching their effort from earlier this season on Jan. 13 at Minnesota… Memphis’ paint scoring average is the NBA’s fifth-highest since the start of the 1996-97 season.
- Memphis entered tonight’s game leading the NBA in points in the paint per game (55.3) while Boston allows 44.9 points in the paint per game to their opponents, ranking sixth-best in the NBA. The Grizzlies out-scored the Celtics 52-20 in points in the paint in the second and third quarter combined.
Key Run of the Night
- After four quarters of play, the Grizzlies and Celtics were tied at 117-117. Memphis outscored Boston 15-9 in the overtime period while out-shooting the Celtics 55.6 percent to 37.5 percent and out-rebounding Boston 7-2. The Grizzlies improved to 2-0 in overtime games this season.
The Grizzlies held on in overtime to beat the Boston Celtics in a 132-126 thriller at FedExForum on Monday.
Ja Morant led the way with 29 points, nine assists and five rebounds while Dillon Brooks added 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Jonas Valanciunas recorded his 27th double-double of the season with 16 points and 19 rebounds (seven offensive). The Grizzlies scored a franchise-record 80 points in the paint and dished out a season-high 38 assists in the victory.
Jaylen Brown scored 26 points with nine rebounds and five assists and Teague scored a season-high 26 points.
Boston shot an impressive 63 percent from three to take the 65-60 lead into halftime, but as the Celtics lit it up from long range, the Grizzlies dominated near the basket to score 44 points in the paint in the first half. Morant and Brooks each had 12 points while Jeff Teague was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field to get 13 points.
The Ja Morant Show was in full effect in the third quarter as he delivered his signature acrobatics and flashy assists to help the Grizzlies roll to a 94-86 lead going into the final quarter.
The Grizzlies spent the fourth quarter fending off a Celtics run to keep the lead until a Marcus Smart alley-oop to Daniel Theis with 7.3 seconds left tied the score at 117 and sent the game into overtime.
Brooks’ five points in overtime helped the Grizzlies pull out the win over the short-handed Celtics.
The Grizzlies will head to Oklahoma City for a matchup against the Thunder to open a four-game road trip. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT.
On the team's overall performance tonight:"Heck of an effort from our guys. What a competitive game, both teams. Obviously had to take this one to overtime. I didn't feel like we came out with the right urgency on the defensive end. I thought the Celtics got off to a really good start and got some open looks. I thought we had a couple breakdowns in our assignments. We regrouped in that first quarter and got better as the game went on. It'll be good to go back and look at the film. We definitely had some breakdowns that led to some open threes, some layups there, some things we need to correct for sure. For the most part, I thought our one-on-one defense was really, really good. I thought our pick-and-roll defense was really, really good. We've got to go back in the film and just find ways to build on this. I keep saying the last couple of game, especially in these tight ones, the execution down the stretch, I thought the late in regulation and overtime our guys did a heck of a job. Communication has been big. We've been talking about that a lot as a group. Making sure we're on the same page defensively. Offensively making sure we were getting looks that we want with the matchups, assignments and coverages that we need. Credit to our guys, big stops and big rebounds down the stretch to close out a big win against a really, really good ball club."
On what changed in the second half:"I thought that third quarter, we addressed a few things at halftime that we needed to clean up. I thought our offensive was obviously playing really, really well. In that first half, defensively as I mentioned a moment ago, we had some breakdowns assignment wise; some communication lapses. We were able to pull the clips and show them. I thought that allowed us to go out there and take away some of the free looks that they had in the first half but weren't able to get in that third quarter. Just generally, our guys were swarming on the defensive end. I thought our rotations when drives were happening and our rotations on the back side, they were sharing the ball big time tonight, so we had to kind of speed up and catch up with a pass there, so I thought our guys did a heck of a job with that effort for the third quarter. That set a tone for us to build a lead. Then I thought in a back-and-forth game, in that fourth quarter and overtime that was pretty big for us."
On the teams shot design on offense:"Yeah, I mean obviously number one we want to live in the paint as much as we can, not just to score, but also to create opportunities at the 3-point line. I thought recently we've shown a little bit more aggression shooting the three ball. Would love for that to be continued to be consistent. I think guys are getting some really good looks and it's great that they are putting in the work and being at home has really helped that. I know I didn't answer the question, but I think this homestand has been great. We've been able to put work in and that's been huge. We don't necessarily map out with our guys the breakdown that we want. We want to thrive in the paint. We want to find an open teammate from the 3-point line which I thought we did a really good job of. Sometimes you've got to live with the mid-range when teams are taking away the paint and the three you've got to be able to knock that shot down. So that's a pretty valuable shot on the list there. Big effort offensively, up and down the roster, great contributions from the guys so I'm really proud of them tonight."
On the team stats:"I mean obviously going into the game we addressed it. I talked about it pre-game, the little physicality you've got to play with against this team. I thought we had a pace in the physicality on the offensive end. I thought we worked on that in shootaround, we showed them the clips from game one and how with them blowing stuff up and being physical with our handlers we were able to get to our spots. We were able to get the points in the paint and the attacks that we needed to tonight. That was huge. And then also a team that turned us over and I think scored 30+ points maybe in game one and to only have three. I mean that's huge. No matter who we're playing we obviously try to swing the ball around, 38 assists but if we can take care of the ball and not just turn it over teams are converting at a high rate against us this season, that's huge for us. I thought overall, huge, despite them making 17 threes. They got hot early and made some big shots there late in the game to force it into overtime. But for the most part our defense was really good, even though they were making those threes. When teams make threes against us it's sometimes hard to win but the sustainability of our defense and then our offense to kind of operate at a high level allowed us to get this W tonight."
On Ja Morant:"Wow. Keep doing it. Ultra-impressive. There's probably a lack of words but it's incredible what he's able to do. The gifts that he has and how it impacts winning that's what impresses me the most. One play on top of many others is really big."
On team wide stats and the good habits they exhibited:"We keep talking about being aggressive, but still making the simple play and the simple pass and being able to read and making the read earlier, excuse me. I thought DB [Dillon Brooks] was fantastic tonight seven assists. Kyle's [Anderson] got seven assists. Ja [Morant] nine. Up and down the roster, multiple guys with two plus assists. We get that distribution up and down the roster, it just shows the movement, no matter what play we're running no matter who's bringing the ball up the floor or who we're running the play for those guys are finding the confidence to be aggressive and we talked about it in a film session the other day we're not built to run a play for you that means to go score. It's to go make the right play. It may be to score, but I think our guys are grasping it especially against aggressive defenses that are shifting out against our rollers or if they're shifting to take our handlers away, whatever it might be, just making simple play trusting that the ball movement is going to come back, and everyone is going to benefit from it. When they embrace that, we play at that level, that's something I have loved about this group since I've been here. They’re embracing that, the more consistency we get that up and down the roster that just only adds more play making and more efficiency for our offense overall."
On whether tonight’s win shows the team’s growth and resilience in making tough plays:“Yes. Once the ball goes up in the air at the beginning of the game, we’ve got to go out there and lock in, do what we have to do and just play hard. Try to win every loose ball, get every rebound. Just be aggressive and try to get stops. It felt like tonight, us just continuing to fight and being able to lock in -- late in the game -- won us this game.”
On whether the Grizzlies’ recent wins over tough teams show their progress against postseason-level competition:“One hundred percent. We still attack each and every game the same way. We lock into our scout and we try to go out and win, no matter the opponent. Last year, being right there that close to the playoffs, made us a little more hungry, gave us some experience. Some guys know what it takes now. So [we’re] just going out there and playing hard. We know what’s at stake, and we’re trying to get in the playoffs.”
On his left-handed alley-oop from Dillon Brooks and how it compares to some of his recent spectacular plays:“I was just attacking the rack, being aggressive. I feel like if I go to the rack aggressively, trying to dunk, it kind of puts the refs in a position. I’m just trying to find ways to get to the free throw line. Draymond [Green], as you know, is a good defender. He has good hands defensively. He takes charges. I feel like that’s what I had to do [the other night, when playing against him]. But the lob with Dillon, we just got out on the break. I just told him to put it by the rim and I’ll go get it.”
On which dunk was better, his dunk over Aron Baynes last year or tonight’s alley-oop:“[The dunk over] Baynes. That’s over a seven-footer, going one way and coming back dunking the other way. I felt like that’s tough to do. I’m taking that one.”
On his mindset in the second half and the aggressiveness he showed therein:“I had the same mindset all game. Each and every game, it’s the same mindset: to be aggressive and take whatever the defense gives me. I feel like tonight, I was able to score. I took that. I implore myself to be more aggressive, and I felt like me being aggressive and scoring the ball opened up a lot for my teammates. They delivered, which is why we had so many assists.”
On Kyle Anderson’s leadership and playmaking:“Kyle is a big-time player for us. A leader in the locker room, a leader on the court. He’s always talking. He does a lot for us on the floor, with being able to knock down shots, get inside the paint, create for himself and the rest of the team. His playmaking is special. He went to the free throw line late in the game and knocked down the two free throws. After the first one, I told him, ‘Your stat line is big-time right now. Just keep being aggressive, keep playing.’ Him and Dillon can tell you that I thanked them late in the game for the big buckets they made for us, being able to pull out this win. That’s my guy. We were telling each other that the chemistry we’ve got is crazy. A lot of credit goes to him.”
On tonight’s performance:We played together. We were connected out there. We had minor slippage, but we found a way to overcome it, and we made the right plays to win the game. Ja (Morant) was a big contributor. Kyle (Anderson), Justise (Winslow), De’Anthony Melton… We had a lot of guys, and everyone was playing defense making it tough to score baskets. It was a great team effort. Let’s take that same effort, intensity, (connectivity) to OKC.
On growing and responding at this point in the season:I feel like it’s that time of the year. It’s not exactly the time but it’s around the All-Star break last year right before we started clicking. We’re just finding our niche, and that’s contributing to Coach (Taylor) Jenkins staying with us and us staying with him and figuring out what we do best and just working together. That’s the main thing, and we showed it today.
On his mindset during the game:I knew that I missed that little stepback to kind of ice the game, so I was trying to make the right plays for my teammates to finish off the game after the Celtics made their run to tie it. I just try to focus on defense and not let Jaylen Brown get anything easy because he’s a tremendous player. I just got to my spots, so it was like money.
On his passing:It’s different for me, but it gives me the same joy just making the right reads and threading the needle. It just helps me get my shot better, and it’ll get somebody else an easy touch and a little bit of energy as well. I always try to find it each and every game. I’m still working on it, but I found a lot of guys today.
On reaching his preseason goals:I’m still going. My goals spread throughout the whole season wanting to make the playoffs and continue there. It’s a good step in my growth as a player. I have more to improve. I have to find more guys consistently in every game, but every game is different. I’m just learning from my guards as well, watching Ja (Morant) and Tyus (Jones) pass and thread the needle, Kyle (Anderson) as well. Like I said before, it opens up the game for me to score as well. Still working on it.
- With tonight’s win, Memphis ended Boston’s 10-game winning streak in the head-to-head series, the longest streak by either team in the overall series. Prior to tonight, the Grizzlies’ last win over the Celtics came inside FedExForum on Jan. 10, 2016.
- The Grizzlies finished a four-game home stand Monday night with the victory against Boston. Memphis went 3-1 during the home stand after defeating the Miami Heat and splitting a back-to-back with the Golden State Warriors. After this home stand, 20 of the Grizzlies’ final 32 games this season will be played on the road.
- Memphis tallied a season-high 38 assists, good for the third-highest in a single game in franchise history. Eight different Grizzlies recorded multiple assists and Memphis improved to 11-1 this season when reaching 30-plus assists. The Grizzlies rank sixth in the league in assists per game (26.8).
- The Grizzlies improved to 10-2 on the season when shooting 50 percent or higher from the field. Memphis knocked down 50 shots on a season-high 110 field goal attempts, the second-most field goal attempts in a game in franchise history (Mar. 13, 2012, 116 FGA).
- The Grizzlies out-scored the Celtics 34-21 in the third quarter while shooting 57.7 percent from the field, compared to 36.4 percent for Boston. The Grizzlies out-scored the Celtics 9-0 in points off turnovers and 24-10 in points in the paint.
- Jonas Valančiūnas posted a double-double with a team high-tying 16 points (7-10 FG, 2-2 FT), 19 rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes. Valančiūnas, who has recorded 27 double-doubles in 35 games this season, has notched a double-double in 18 of his last 22 outings. His double-double rate (.771) would set a franchise record for a single season (Zach Randolph, .718 in 2010-11).
- Valančiūnas ranks third in the NBA in rebounds per game (career-high 12.1). Zach Randolph, who averaged 12.2 rebounds per game in 2010-11, holds the Grizzlies’ single-season franchise record for rebounds per game.
- Dillon Brooks totaled 24 points (10-22 FG), seven assists and seven rebounds in 37 minutes. Memphis is 8-4 this season when Brooks scores 20-plus points (20-6 last season).
- Ja Morant totaled a game-high 29 points (12-25 FG), nine assists and five rebounds in 41 minutes. Morant is now averaging 21.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 10 games in the month of March.
- Desmond Bane notched 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Bane is now shooting 50 percent from 3-point range since the Second Half of the season began (eight games).