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Memphis Grizzlies Postgame Report
Postgame Report

Postgame Report: Morant makes statement as Grizzlies open season with win over Cavaliers

by Memphis Grizzlies

Key Stat of the Night

  • Ja Morant accounted for 11 of the Grizzlies’ 20 points in the final 4:49 of the game to lift Memphis to victory. Morant finished with 37 points, the second most points in a regular season opener in Grizzlies history (Morant’s 44 in the 2020 season opener).
  • The Grizzlies outrebounded the Cavaliers 53-36; including 13 offensive rebounds. Memphis outscored Cleveland 70-54 in points in the paint. The Grizzlies ranked first in points in paint per game in the 2020-21 season with 55.8.

Key Run of the Night

  • Darius Garland led the Cavaliers to an 18-7 run late in the fourth quarter to bring the game within one point (119-118), but Morant and company responded with a 13-2 run of their own in the final two minutes to push the Grizzlies’ lead back to 12, at 130-118, with 37 seconds to play.

Game Recap

The Grizzlies survived a late comeback push to defeat the Cavaliers 132-121 in the 2021-22 season opener on Wednesday night at FedExForum.

Ja Morant scored 11 of his game-high 37 points in the final quarter and added six rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Desmond Bane tied his career-high, scoring 22 points to go with three rebounds and two steals. De’Anthony Melton went 4-for-6 from 3-point range for 20 points and four rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four blocks.

Jarrett Allen led the Cavaliers with 25 points on 11-of-11 shooting and four rebounds while Evan Mobley and Collin Sexton notched 17 points each for the Cavaliers, who cut a 16-point Memphis lead to 119-118 before the Grizzlies scored 11 straight and closed on a 13-3 run.

Morant, who shot 17-of-29 from the field and recorded the most field goal attempts of his career, posted the second-highest opening-night scoring total in franchise history after scoring 44 points in the season opener last year.

It was Morant and Bane trading buckets early in the first quarter to earn an early lead, but the Cavaliers knocked down shots to keep the score close as a back-and-forth first period ended tied at 32-32. Morant sprinted out to 12 points to lead all scorers.

Three consecutive 3-pointers from Melton to start the second quarter put the Grizzlies on track for a 23-9 run as the they built a double-digit lead. A 3-pointer from Bane led to a monstrous chase down block from Morant at the end of the quarter as the Grizzlies took a 73-61 lead into the locker room. The Grizzlies piled up 41 points in the second quarter. Morant tallied 20 points while Bane scored 16 points with three assists and two rebounds.

Allen and Isaac Okoro helped the Cavaliers launch a comeback resulting in a 94-90 deficit heading into the final quarter. Jackson Jr. opened the fourth quarter with a block and a spot up 3-pointer, which sparked a quick 7-0 run to reclaim the double-digit lead. Darius Garland led a Cavaliers 18-7 run late in the fourth to cut the lead to one point before Morant provided multiple clutch plays to preserve the victory.

Next Game

The Grizzlies continue the season with a four-game West Coast road trip, starting with a matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 9:30 p.m. CT. Fans can tune in to Bally Sports Southeast or listen live on 92.9 FM ESPN.

Team Quotes

Team Notables

  • The Grizzlies scored 73 points by halftime tonight, including 20 from Morant, which tied the fifth-highest first-half scoring total in franchise history.
  • Memphis finished a perfect 100% (12-12 FT) from the free throw line tonight. They accomplished this one time during the entire 2020-21 season (March 12 vs. Denver).
  • The Grizzlies set franchise records for a season opener for points (132) and 3-pointers made (14).
  • Memphis shot 42.4% from 3-point range tonight Last season the Grizzlies were 15-4 when shooting over 42% from three.

Player Notables

  • Ja Morant led Memphis with 37 points (17-29 FG), six rebounds, six assists and two blocks in 34 minutes. Morant’s 37 points tied Pau Gasol (Nov. 29, 2003) for the most points against the Cavaliers in franchise history.
  • Ja Morant now has the two highest scoring totals on Opening Night in franchise history after scoring 44 points against the San Antonio Spurs last season on Dec. 23, 2020.
  • Ja Morant scored his first 14 points tonight in the paint. The Grizzlies finished with 70 points in the paint.
  • Desmond Bane tied his career high, scoring 22 points (8-16 FG) to go with three rebounds and two steals.
  • De’Anthony Melton went 4-for-6 from 3-point range to finish with 20 points and four rebounds. Melton hadfour 20-point games last season.
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four blocks.
  • Jarrett Allen (11-11 FG) led the Cavaliers with 25 points and four rebounds.
  • Kyle Anderson added 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
  • Evan Mobley and Collin Sexton notched 17 points each.

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