Postgame Report: Grizzlies find their groove early in 127-92 victory over Pistons
Key Stat of the Night
- The Grizzlies forced the Pistons into 23 turnovers, resulting in 27 points for Memphis on the other end, while only allowing 12 points off turnovers for Detroit.
- Memphis was excellent at forcing turnovers and scoring off those miscues last season… Memphis ranked inside the NBA Top 10 in points off turnovers (18.5, 3rd), percentage of total scoring off turnovers (16.3%, 5th) and opponent turnover percentage (14.6%, 7th).
Key Run of the Night
- The Grizzlies opened the second quarter with a dominant 23-9 run in the second quarter. It was highlighted by a two-handed jam from Ja Morant to pull away from the Pistons, and take a commanding 70-46 lead into the half. Morant had 10 points in the second quarter and totaled 18 the first half. The Grizzlies outscored the Pistons 36-19 in the second quarter.
The Memphis Grizzlies added another convincing win to their 2021 preseason resume with a 127-92 victory over the Detroit Pistons Monday night at FedExForum.
Ja Morant continued his scintillating preseason with 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting to go with five assists in 26 minutes. Jaren Jackson Jr. added a preseason-high 20 points and eight rebounds, and De’Anthony Melton continued his strong preseason with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Tyus Jones added 15 points off the bench.
Desmond Bane and Morant hit back-to-back 3-pointers to launch a 19-7 run in the first quarter and take control early. The Grizzlies led the Pistons 34-27 at the end of the first quarter, shooting 15-of-17 from the free throw line.
The Grizzlies opened the second quarter with a dominant 23-9 run in the second quarter topped off with a two-handed jam from Morant to pull away from the Pistons and take a 70-46 lead at halftime. Morant had 18 at halftime.
The Grizzlies keep their foot on the gas throughout the second half, finishing the game with a 28-11 advantage in fast break points and pushing their lead to as many as 39 points in the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies will hit the road to face the Indiana Pacers in their fifth preseason game on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. CT. Fans can tune in to Bally Sports Southeast or listen live on 92.9 FM ESPN.
On the production from Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. tonight:Ja and JJ were great tonight. Their plus and minuses were ridiculous. Both those guys impacted the game offensively and defensively. Continue to love to see what JJ does rebounding wise, coming over active and around the rim. We changed up coverages. The Pistons started getting downhill on us too much in the first quarter, so we started switching a little bit more and Ja continues to be an engine for us, getting some rebounds that ignites the offense. But I love the effort he’s giving one-on-one, he’s communicating with his teammates, he’s making sure we’re all on the same page defensively and what he’s doing offensively - just three level scoring at the rim, mid-range and the free throw line too.
On Ja Morant having a wide open view of the court:I know he’s going to make the right play. We want to be able to create those opportunities when he has an open court. He has a plethora of options, whether that’s him getting downhill, his ability to find his teammates or when he’s finding guys for threes. He’s got great vision, when we have an open floor where I know something good is going to happen. I have so much trust and confidence in his decision making.
On Ja Morant on mid-range shot:There’s been a lot of collaboration with him at the end of last season in terms of a lot of things for him to continue to work on. Defensively, offensively, his jump shooting ability, being able to shoot off the bounce when teams are going under, when teams are going to switch on him or whatever the situation might be. Mid-range being a package because teams are going to try to take away the rim or take away threes. He’s got to be able to have that counter as well, it’s also a part of his free throw work that he’s been doing. His shot was a big focus for him this summer, but it’s a variation of shots - catch and shoot, off the bounce. He was locked in this summer and you can start seeing it right now it’s translating into success. Great things are going to be that teams are going to guard him in different ways over the course of the season, him just now having an array of tools to beat that is going to be really fun to watch
On Kyle Anderson isolation (ISO) looks:I think he’s doing a great job. Obviously tonight he played more on the wing, he’s been playing at the four, just kind of juggling the line-ups more. He’s the kind of guy that embraces whatever role he can do to help the team. Tonight he had a lot of ISO situations. A lot of that was created off of drive and kick, pick and rolls, and just his size and speed he plays at, he creates angles to get deep in the paint. Love how he’s approaching the season. He’s a versatile player we’re able to put the ball in his hands it’s another playmaker to have.
On areas that need improvement before the season starts:We’ll probably have a number of areas. I think our guys are very locked in defensively, offensively and game planning going into the preseason scouts so were challenging the guys to take that seriousness and focus to another level. I’m always going to hit them on our habits for one-on-one defense and rebounding is going to be a big thing. I think the versatility in our pick and roll coverages; we’re finding consistency in the game. To me, the biggest thing is finding consistency in all areas. We’re doing really well offensively with our willingness to be in the right spots - I can’t stress that enough possession after possession. To become a threat at both the rim and the 3-point line is going to be hard for teams to guard us. I’m always going to find something to push these guys incremental steps in the right direction one day at a time.
On Jaren Jackson Jr.’s rebounding:He’s got the capability to be an anchor for us defensively. It’s not just guarding on the perimeter with his mobility, but his ability to alter shots and finishing possessions with a rebound. We’ve talked about him being more aggressive on the rebounding front, that’s a big step of improvement for him. If he’s playing at that level, getting those rebounds - he’ll eventually get double-digit rebounds, that helps our defense to not give up second chance points, which is a big priority of ours. It’s been really big to see early on and I hope he continues to do that.
On his open dunk to end the first half:When I am by myself, my teammates get mad at me that I do regular dunks. They ask me to windmill, once I took off my mindset was to windmill, but I saw the defender run back. I did a quick dunk, and got out of the way.”
On midrange shot:I felt like today showed everybody how comfortable I am shooting that shot. I was talking to Steven (Adams), I think they need to put that in the assist column for him, my man was not in the picture at all. I am coming down the lane with nobody in front of me except for one defender always back. I just got to my spots, and was able to knock down the shot.”
On offseason training:I am always confident. One thing I always say is I am humble and confident. I know I put the work in. My mindset is that the work is always going to show. Each and every day shooting those shots in workouts, shooting threes in workouts. Anytime I get to that spot or I have the chance, I am shooting it with all the confidence in the world.”
On Jaren Jackson Jr.:We play him at the four position, we play him at the five position, so we just let him got out and be him. Play freely, if you want to pop, pop. If you want to roll, roll. We also put the ball in his, in certain situations. He is 7-foot-1 and able to handle the ball well, get by his defender, he is just special.”
On how the team can improve before the season starts:Offense is there. We have a lot of guys that can score the basketball, and we are very unselfish. Offense is not a problem. We just have to clean up a little bit -- our spacing, our pace -- everything else is going to come offensively. Defensively, we have been playing great defense. I think we have been holding teams to like 90 points (per game). That is big time for us. It allows us to get out in transition. We just got to clean up on the defensive end -- stop fouling, showing our hands, make sure everybody is in the right spots on rotations, and rebound.”
On what Jaren Jackson Jr. adds to the team:He is healthy. It's healthy Jaren is what everybody is seeing right now.
On playing with Ja Morant:It’s great. We work on it a lot in practice, make sure we are on the same page, coordinated. The guys around us make it easy. It usually starts with defense, we are able to get out and run, and everything becomes a lot easier. Rather than just set plays all the time when they score, but we do like to play fast when they score.
On support from his teammates:I can’t say enough about those guys. They bring some much on the floor. I got a chance to watch them for the majority of my year last year. I learned a lot about their grit, their toughness. They bring a lot to the table and make the game easier for me. All that credit is great, it just shows what kind of team you have its genuine. It kind of a coincidence we are all on the same team, because you don’t usually get that all the time. We know that is special. That’s something that we cherish. That's why every day when we come to work enjoy it. We also value each other’s time. We have a chance to do something special here, keep on focusing on the right things.
- The Memphis Grizzlies finished their preseason home schedule against the Pistons on Monday... Memphis will finish its preseason slate with two games on the road against Central Division opponents: Oct. 13 at Indiana and Oct. 15 at Chicago.
- Memphis Grizzlies players donned pink shoes, laces and bracelets tonight in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness.
- The Grizzlies and Pistons split the 2020-21 season series, 1-1, with the home team winning each game.
- On this day in Grizzlies history (Oct. 11, 2007), the Grizzlies played MMT Estudiantes during EA Sports 2007 NBA Europe Live Tour at the Palacio de Deportes de la Communidad de Madrid in a preseason exhibition. The team wore jerseys with red-and-yellow piping in homage to the Spanish flag. Memphis' Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro and the Toronto Raptors' Jose Calderon and Jorge Garbajosa were honored at the end of the game.
- The Grizzlies out rebounded the Pistons 65-42, led by nine from Steven Adams. Memphis capitalized on the boards by outscoring Detroit 21-9 in second chance points.
- Ja Morant continued his stellar preseason play with 24 points (10-13 FG) in 26 minutes to go with five assists, two rebounds and one steal. Morant helped spark the decisive run with 10 points in the second quarter.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. added 20 points (7-14 FG, 3-6 3P) and eight rebounds to go with two steals.
- De’Anthony Melton continued his strong preseason with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
- Tyus Jones poured in 15 points and three rebounds in 14 minutes of play off the bench.
- Brandon Clarke notched 10 points and five rebounds.
- Jerami Grant led Detroit with 13 points, three assists and one rebound in 23 minutes.