Postgame Report: Grizzlies begin four-game road trip with win over Clippers
Key Stat of the Night
- Morant finished with 28 points (10-19 FG, 2-7 3P) to go with eight assists and two rebounds in 35 minutes of action.
Key Run of the Night
- The Grizzlies came out of the gate strong in the second half, knocking down 60.9% of their shots in the third quarter. Memphis exploded for a 28-9 run to take control of the game at 89-73 with 4:42 to play in the third quarter.
The Memphis Grizzlies knocked off the L.A. Clippers 120-114 on Saturday night inside Staples Center. The Grizzlies trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half before an explosive third quarter that turned the momentum in their favor. The game was still in doubt down to the final minute, but Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. connected on clutch baskets to fend off the Los Angeles comeback bid.
Paul George got the scoring going early and often for the Clippers, tallying 10 first-quarter points to help Los Angles to a 34-25 lead after 12 minutes. After shooting 50% from three in the opening period, the Clippers connected on just 12.5% from three in the second quarter, allowing Memphis to trim the lead to three points (62-59) heading into the halftime break. Ja Morant led the scoring for Memphis in the first half with 15 points and six assists on 5-of-10 shooting.
The Grizzlies came out of the gate strong in the second half, knocking down 60.9% of their shots in the third quarter. Memphis exploded for a 28-9 run to take control of the game at 89-73 with 4:42 to play in the third quarter. George scored 17 of his 41 points in the third quarter alone, but Memphis still carried an eight-point lead into the final quarter. The Clippers cut the Grizzlies’ lead to just two points at 114-112 following a 3-pointer from George with 1:14 to play. However, Bane and Jackson connected on back-to-back baskets to run Memphis’ lead back to five points and put the game out of reach.
Morant finished with 28 points (10-19 FG, 2-7 3P) to go with eight assists and two rebounds in 35 minutes of action. De'Anthony Melton totaled 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists on 9-of-16 shooting. Jackson Jr. tallied 21 points, seven rebounds, one steal and a block in 31 minutes. Bane and Steven Adams added 19 points and 17 points, respectively as Memphis moved to 2-0.
George led Los Angeles with 41 points, 10 rebounds and four assists on 15-of-25 shooting. Reggie Jackson added 17 points, two assists and one steal. Eric Bledsoe finished with 12 points (3-11 FG) as the Clippers fell to 0-2.
The Grizzlies will return to Staples Center tomorrow night when they meet the Lakers at 8:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. on Bally Sports South. Fans can also listen to the play-by-play with Eric Hasseltine on 92.9 FM ESPN.
What the team learned from tough losses last year, and staying calmI think that is really what it is, there’s obviously all kinds of basketball Xs and Os and strategies and what not. I think the biggest growth, and this is only just one game now we got to be consistent in this area, is just the calm and understanding, you know whether it’s in the flow of the game we got to be on the same page and get poised or in the timeouts. Tonight there was a lot of timeouts late in the game talking about coverages, matchups, talking about what we’re going to do on the defensive end and after that possession on the offensive end. There was really good execution, give the Clippers a lot of credit even though we tried to execute some of our stuff on offense they took us out of a lot of our stuff. They were throwing different looks at us, but I think just the poise to understand the job needing to be done on both sides, give them credit too, they made some tough shots but we just enough plays on both sides of the floor. I think just the collective understanding of what the game plan was possession to possession was big time. So, that’s the biggest takeaway but as I said a moment ago we got to be consistent for 48, and in any situation and in these heightened ones even more focused.
Jaren Jackson’s late three pointer being a catalystHopefully. I think he’s had a lot of catalysts in the offseason. Obviously, that was a big moment for us as a team. You know, Ja collapsing the defense and making a kick out, trusting his teammate to make a big time shot, the celebration afterwards to see how happy they were to be able to make that play. We got to be humble throughout this process, understand there’s a lot of ways to win ball games. Tonight called for what we were just talking about, but just the confidence within each other is the biggest thing and I think that’s what all of our guys feel so for J.J. in particular the confidence that he gets with all the work he’s put in and obviously the trust he has from his teammates he can hopefully have a great regular season after this not just the road trip.
Learning from tough losses last yearDefinitely, we learn from wins and losses. We’re not perfect, we understand that, but you know we strive to be the closest thing to it. So, just understanding where we lack that on offense and defense. Just fouls and little stuff we got to pick up on I think we’re doing a great job at it right now we just got to keep doing it and keep pushing.
Statement game and gaining confidence this early onI think regardless of who’s on the court we are going to come out and do us. Even in preseason coming out with that energy coming out with that fight and that swagger. So, we just want that to carry over to the regular season and I felt like we have been doing it, just so happened we saw the Clippers early but that type of stuff doesn’t really matter to us.
The growth of the team being able to close out gamesIt’s just huge because it’s the same sort of guys, we’ve been playing with each other for a minute now so for us to get over that, I think, a couple years ago in tight games sometimes it would be back-and-forth and we’d lose those sometimes. It’s just the first two games of the season [isn’t] anything to get too high or low about. To close out this one was good especially on the road.
The feeling after hitting the late three pointer after offseason workFor sure, working on balance all summer for these types of moments it was good. You know, hit a shot like that you just hear the crowd feel sick. It’s a good feeling. The timeout, all that.
How important was this win?Every [game] counts, but this one means a little bit more because [the Clippers] are a really good team. Very established, so a pretty big win for us. We looked pretty good out there. It’s good to see all the progress from the start of training camp. Actually, the start of open gym. Boys showing up three weeks before training camp and how much we’ve accomplished. That’s regardless of the win or not. The fluidity of rotations and offense. I thought it was pretty good.
Comfortability with systemI’m getting more comfortable with the system and stuff like that. Being able to see the passing lanes and whatnot. The boys are doing a good job cutting. That makes it easier on the passer. There’s not much talent needed from me.
- Ja Morant finished with 28 points (10-19 FG, 2-7 3P) to go with eight assists and two rebounds in 35 minutes of action.
- De'Anthony Melton totaled 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists on 9-of-16 shooting.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. tallied 21 points, seven rebound, one steal and a block in 31 minutes.
- Desmond Bane and Steven Adams added 19 points and 17 points.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2019-20 Season Tickets can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Single Game Tickets are available for purchase at the FedExForum Box Office, ticketmaster.com, online at grizzlies.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.