Postgame Report: Grizzlies stride to 120-108 victory over Timberwolves
Key Stat of the Night
- Nine different Grizzlies players connected on a 3-point field goal, led by Grayson Allen's five and De'Anthony Melton's four.
Key Run of the Night
- Memphis ripped off a 35-9 run between the end of Q3 into Q4 over 9:18 of play, highlighted by three triple’s from De'Anthony Melton, to extend the Grizzlies' lead to 25 points (115-90) with 5:42 remaining in the game. The Timberwolves never cut the lead to fewer than 12 points for the remainder of the game.
The Memphis Grizzlies used efficient offense and opportunistic defense to grab a 120-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at FedExForum on Friday.
The Grizzlies were lights out from beyond the arc all night, shooting 48 percent from three as a team. Jonas Valanciunas led the way from the start and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Grayson Allen was 5-of-7 from 3-point range for 15 points. De'Anthony Melton contributed 14 points off the bench and Ja Morant added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Karl-Anthony Towns notched a double-double with 30 points and 16 rebounds while Anthony Edwards continued his stellar rookie campaign with 22 points and six assists. Naz Reid added 18 points and five rebounds off the bench
Valanciunas got the Grizzlies out to a quick start but it was Towns who kept the Timberwolves in lockstep. Towns' 10 points and seven rebounds set the pace, but the Grizzlies 50 percent shooting from three to keep the 30-28 lead in the first quarter.
The Timberwolves poured in 38 points in the second quarter to limit the Grizzlies' lead to 68-66 at halftime. Towns led the Timberwolves with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Valanciunas had 13 points and five rebounds in the half and Allen caught fire from beyond the arc, going 4-of-6 on 3-point attempts to get 12 points.
The combo of Edwards and Towns kept the Timberwolves close until the Grizzlies went on a 12-3 run at the end of the quarter to take a 92-84 lead into the final quarter.
Memphis found their groove in the fourth quarter during a 35-9 run to close out the game and bring the Grizzlies back to .500.
The Grizzlies kick off a four-game road trip with a matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at 7 p.m. CT.
On what the Grizzlies could have done better:50/50 balls. I thought that was a deciding factor in the first half for sure. I thought they made us pay. I think we only had two second chance points, but it wasn’t just rebounds. It was loose balls; it was opportunities to dive on the floor. We showed some clips at halftime where we could definitely do better, be a little bit more physical, be a little bit more urgent. And I thought our defense really clamped down there in the second half after giving up 38 points in the second quarter, 18 in the third, and then I think before we took our guys out, our starters, I think they had only had 16 points in the fourth quarter. So I thought we did a better job getting the stops in a row coming up with 50/50 balls. Our defense really ignited us. Great production up and down the roster, especially our bench. I thought that group that was out there for a really long stretch helped us build that lead over 20. That was the difference tonight.
On 3-point shooting:We knew going into the game that there would be opportunities to get into the paint, but we also knew that they were a heavy-shift team and we just had to make the simple play. We even talked to the team yesterday about just trying to seek out more opportunities from the 3-point line. I think we’ve done a really good job scoring at a high clip, getting into the paint, but we’re also missing some opportunities and trying to get some more threes and having a little bit better balance on the offensive end. So, it’s great to make 19 threes, but I think it’s even better to shoot 39 threes to make sure that we have that balance. Credit to their defense to hold of our paint opportunities, and we did a good job finding those three point opportunities tonight.
On the importance of rebounding:Huge. Much better job in the second half. Obviously (Jonas Valančiūnas’) huge for us when it comes to defensive rebounding, but i thought in the second half we did a much better job. He was battling some foul trouble and (Xavier Tillman Sr.) was in there fighting, but I think our guards and our wings really stepped up. I thought there was a number of plays Ja (Morant) was coming in. Even thought he didn’t get the rebound, he was coming and flying in and tipping it out. Other guys were coming in picking up that 50/50 ball. Just that urgency from the guard position was really big for us tonight. Even when (Valančiūnas) is out there, we’ve still got to have that mentality. But that was huge for us as I said. It took time to clamp down and not give them the second chance opportunities that they got in the first half.
On the importance of shooting more 3-point shots:Team-wide concept. Obviously (Grayson Allen, Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton) have been some of our aggressive 3-point shooters this season, which is awesome. Really big emphasis on just our spacing and just willingness to shoot and readiness to shoot. So you’ve got to be ready to get into the right spots. Our teammates are going to make the right plays. That was just a team concept that we addressed yesterday, and we address pretty consistently, but that was a big emphasis yesterday. I thought tonight was a better job, especially against a shifting team. Our spacing was a lot better, our willingness to make the right play and get it out, and our readiness and willingness to shoot really paid off for us tonight.
On what to take away from this game moving into a four-game road trip:I just think a lot of credit to our guys. The ability to coming out of halftime to just find ways to get better. I think we were only up two at halftime. Definitely didn’t play our best basketball. We were just trading baskets. It’s 68-66 i think at halftime, and we really emphasized the 50/50 balls like i talked about, but just getting consecutive stops. That’s something we emphasize with the guys. We had zero sequences at the three stops in a row in the first half. We come out immediately out at halftime and get eight stops in a row I think. So that mentality, that’s something we’ve got to have from the jump. When we do have that in the first half, it’s pretty well bodes for us well. But that’s probably my biggest takeaway is just coming out with that urgency defensively, and set a better tone in the first half. But as I said in the beginning, credit to our guys to recognize that. They go out there and they created a lot of energy for us to really have a good third quarter, and we carried that into the fourth.
On how it felt to get a good team win:It’s a good team win for us. Everyone contributing, everyone playing really well, especially off the bench. That’s how we want to play and contribute to the game. That was good for us. It was a good team win from top to bottom. We’re happy with it.
On the 35-9 run:We were just stringing stops together. We finally were able to get multiple stops in a row which we were not able to do in the first half. I think that was the difference, to get one stop after another and after another and to go on a run. We weren’t able to really go on a run of our liking in the first half, so we knew we had to get stops on the defensive end. We locked in and came out of halftime with a great focus in the second half.
On the depth of the team:We have a lot of depth on this team. We have a team that has a lot of ball players. Guy who can do a lot of different things out there on the court. We got a lot of guys that bring a lot to the table. Night in and night out, it could be somebody else’s turn, somebody else’s night and I think that’s a great problem to have. You got guys who coming off the bench who can play well and as well as starters. Depth is something that you definitely want to have in this league. We try to preach that everyone stays ready and approach every game like this Is going to be your game. Coach gives you the opportunity to play your game as well. It’s just a good problem to have, the depth that we do.
On the good start in the first half:Just focusing on that. Like you said, our first half scoring has not been up to par where we want it. We want to be locked in out the gate and not try to make up a deficit. We did a good job locking in and coming out ready to go, re-adjusting at halftime, and showing growth coming out of halftime was awesome to see. Just being able to see how the game was going and make those adjustments and apply them in the second half. That was huge for us.
On the importance of shots off the dribble:It’s important for the both of us. For me specifically, I play as a point guard and have the ball in my hand a lot. I’m initiating offense and coming off a lot of ball screens. Being able to knock a jumper down off the dribble is crucial for me. As far as Grayson [Allen] goes, he is shooting a lot of pull up threes in transition which is great for us and it’s a great shot for him. It’s been crucial for the both of us, and to continue to take our shots with confidence.
On the game today:I felt like we were really resilient today, going on big runs and having them come back, and still fighting and pushing out to a big lead. It just shows how resilient we are – even though we might get down at some points, we’re able to make a run, we’re able to communicate with each other through the hard times and get through those tough situations.
On Jaren Jackson Jr.’s relationship with him and their support of each other this year:It’s a blessing that I was fortunate enough to be here with Jaren. He’s obviously my best friend, but me getting a chance to see him work and then learn his mentality and how he approaches each and every day as a pro, how he handles himself, is something I’ve learned from each and every day. And then obviously with my family, it just takes a lot of pressure off myself to come home and be all happy and stuff like that. When he’s able to just be him around my kids and around my wife and everybody loves him, and he loves our family, it’s great as well.
On the “stay ready” mentality that he’s carried for the past few weeks & how it’s helped him:It’s been huge. It’s kind of like my freshman year at Michigan State, where I played about 8-10 minutes a game, and that’s if it wasn’t a close game. If it was a close game, I was maybe playing two minutes. Just like my freshman year at Michigan State, where my mentality was, each and every day, I’ve got to get the most out of it, because in the game, I might not have my chance. So over the last couple weeks, that’s what I’ve been doing with the play groups. Making sure that I’m pushing myself, working hard each and every day and then learning, also. If I’m not playing, I don’t want to just sit there and do nothing. I’m cheering on my teammates. I’m seeing stuff on defense where I could make an impact when I get my opportunities, and seeing stuff where I can tell my teammate, ‘Hey, shift there’ or ‘Be a mig [most important guy] over here’, stuff like that. Just learning on the go.
On being a part of a playoff race & how his veterans have helped him:The biggest thing that I’ve learned from them is never to get too high or too low. They’re really good at staying even keeled with the ebbs and flows of the season. That’s been the biggest thing, because usually, typically, for me, I take a win and I’m super hyped, I don’t really care about the next practice, I’m just kind of riding that high. Whereas if I get a loss, I don’t want to talk to anybody for a couple days. But we play one game after another back to back, so these guys are really good at helping me to stay even-keeled and approach every day new and have that ‘get better’ mentality.
On how fun it is to play in a game where everyone is shooting well from outside:It’s huge. It makes it that much harder to guard us, where you can’t just keep one player in the paint. Everybody being a lethal threat from the perimeter opens up a lot of stuff, not just for drivers like myself and BC [Brandon Clarke] and Ja [Morant], but guys like Kyle [Anderson], guys like Grayson [Allen]. Now you’ve got to close out, he’s going to drive and make a play. So it opens up a lot of stuff for us for sure.
- The Memphis Grizzlies started the month of April with their second matchup this season with the Minnesota Timberwolves... Memphis will play 11 of its 17 games this month on the road, including a seven-game road trip from April 16-26, the longest in the Memphis era of the franchise (2001-02 season to present).
- Memphis has now won the last five games in the overall series against Minnesota and 11 of the last 14 matchups.
- The Grizzlies' second-unit outscored the Timberwolves' reserves 56-38 while knocking down eight 3-pointers, tallying seven steals and racking up 11 assists… Memphis entered tonight ranked third in the NBA in bench points per game (39.8), first in bench steals (4.5), second in bench assists (10.0) and fourth in bench 3-point percentage (.385).
- Memphis had eight different players score in double figures, including all five starters and four players off the bench.
- Memphis out-rebounded Minnesota 53-39… The Grizzlies currently rank tied-for-fifth in the NBA in rebounds per game (46.2)
- Jonas Valanciunas posted a double-double with 10 points, 16 rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes. Valančiūnas, whose 16-game streak with 10+ rebounds is the longest current streak in the NBA.
- Valanciunas grabbed 225 rebounds from March 2-31, the franchise record for a 15-game span… Valančiūnas led the NBA in rebounds per game (15.1) during the month of March.
- Grayson Allen totaled 15 points (5-7 3P), three rebounds and one assist in two minutes. This was Allen’s fifth game this season with five-or-more 3-pointers. Prior to this season, Allen had only done this twice in a single season (2019-20).
- De'Anthony Melton added 14 points (5-10 FG, 4-6 3P), four rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes off the bench.
- Xavier Tillman posted 12 points, four rebounds and one steal in 22 minutes
- Karl-Anthony Towns posted a double-double with 30 points, 16 rebounds and one block on 11-of-25 shooting.