Postgame Report: Grizzlies survive short-handed Kings, win 116-110 for fourth-straight victory
Key Stat of the Night
- The Grizzlies improved to a season-high four games above .500 with tonight’s 116-110 win over the Sacramento Kings. Memphis has guaranteed itself a winning record for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
Key Run of the Night
- The Grizzlies led by as many as eight points in the third quarter, forcing the Kings to play catch up until they outscored the Grizzlies 19-7 to open the fourth quarter. After falling behind 110-104 following a Buddy Hield step-back jumper, Jonas Valanciunas and Dillon Brooks led the Grizzlies to an 11-0 run in the final 3:07 of play to boost the Grizzlies to their fourth consecutive win.
The Memphis Grizzlies used a late fourth quarter rally to close out the Sacramento Kings 116-110 at FedExForum on Thursday night.
Dillon Brooks provided a steady stream of offense, finishing with 30 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Jonas Valanciunas was key to the late-game push on both ends with 24 points and 13 rebounds while Kyle Anderson tied his career-high with nine assists to go with 14 points and five rebounds. Ja Morant tallied 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 12 points with six rebounds and two blocks in his second start at FedExForum this season.
Justin James came off the bench and poured in a career-high 31 points. Buddy Hield scored 16 points with six assists and four rebounds.
Valanciunas went right to work in the first quarter, putting up eight points, four rebounds and one block in the first five minutes of the game. The Kings were able to match the Grizzlies' inside attack by going 7-for-11 from the 3-points line. Memphis led 36-32 at the end of the first.
The Kings opened the second quarter with a 17-5 run, but Brooks' 11 points in the quarter helped the Grizzlies stay within striking distance with a 60-59 score at halftime. Brooks led all scorers with 17 while Justin James had 16 points from the bench.
The Grizzlies held the lead throughout the second half until a 19-7 run to start the fourth quarter put the Kings ahead. The Grizzlies rallied with the final two minutes with an 11-0 run in the final two minutes featuring buckets from Valanciunas and Brooks to earn the victory.
The Grizzlies will finish the mini series against the Sacramento Kings at FedExForum on Friday night at 8 p.m. CT. Fans can tune in to Bally Sports South or listen live on 92.9 FM ESPN.
On the game:Tons of credit to the Kings. They had so many guys play well – obviously (Justin) James off the bench, (Chimezie) Metu, (Terence) Davis, (Buddy) Hield, (Delon) Wright. We threw a lot at them and they just had a counter to everything. They also made some really, really tough shots. We had hands in their faces, shot clock, coming off with tough angles and moving and turning around and banging threes. We didn’t help ourselves in the first half with second chance points. They got a number of threes off offensive rebounds. We just kept staying the course. Fortunately, as they were raining a bunch of threes and making a lot of shots, we just stayed the course and was able to stay within a couple of possessions. We built a lead, obviously lost the lead there in the second half, but it wasn’t anything too crazy. I don’t think it got above double digits. So our guys just kept staying the course. We made some adjustments with matchups and coverages. Fortunately, we were able to get the stops at the right time and they missed a couple shots down late and we didn’t slow down. They started switching a lot in the second half. That gave them a lot of juice, especially in the fourth quarter... We missed some layups when we had opportunities, but we were taking some bad shots. We were able to break through, get stops. A layup in transition, one or two, and then a big three from Kyle (Anderson) all off of pace. So it was just kind of those products where you got to play the full 48 minutes. Give the Kings a lot of credit. It is going to be a tough matchup tomorrow again.
On this group of young players:Obviously we still have loftier goals ahead of us and more basketball to play. There are a lot things that we can keep getting better on. But it is obviously great to acknowledge that. We are never satisfied. I am just proud of the group’s growth over the season. We have had our stretches where we played really good basketball for a number of games in a row. Before this last stretch, pretty inconsistent, but I really like the trajectory that we are on. But guys just keep putting in the work. We are having limited opportunities on the floor because we are playing so many games, but we are into the games, the film sessions, individual film sessions as well and just staying together along this road. I am just really proud of what we were able to accomplish up to this point, but we all know that we want more.
On closing it out in the fourth quarter:It is huge. These are great learning opportunities any time during the year, but especially at this point in the season. Every team is playing extremely hard right now and we got a great shot tonight from the Kings. You have to win games in different fashions. They were clicking on all cylinders. We kept staying the course. We threw a lot of different matchup adjustments and coverage adjustments. We kept trying to find ways to break through. They kept switching, as I said, in the fourth quarter, which kind of changed the rhythm of the game, but our guys have a great ability to adapt and understand what we need to do in stretches of the game or given possession. There is great togetherness. These moments being able to close out really contested games and down the stretch only server you in the long run. So, luckily, we have gotten a few of those in our back pocket here and hopefully keep building on it.
On Dillon Brooks’ energy:It is awesome to have that. We have a lot of guys with that spirit. But obviously we talk about DB being one of our spirit leaders. He brings it every single night, every single day. He is the ultimate competitor. Tonight he did a heck of a job. I know they had a lot of guys score really well. But his aggressiveness defensively, never wavering. Obviously got a really good offensive night. I thought he did some good things playmaking on top of the scoring, but it definitely does bring momentum. Tonight was a game where we needed to raise our physicality and urgency given how well they were playing offensively. We try to rely on DB every single night to bring that edge. I am happy that the rest of the group was able to do that as well tonight.
On the team’s winning record:It means that it’s good. I believe in us from the jump. It’s great to see how we continue to grow and get better as the season goes on. It’s our credit to our hard work and our fight.
On preparing for the Warriors:Same way I prepare for each and every game. Watch film, study and learn the opponent, try to play their main plays to be able to help our team, study who I am guarding and study previous games against us to see how they were playing us on ball screens and guarding. Simple as that. Get sleep, eat, come to the gym and be ready.
On staying the course:Honestly, I feel like we are a way better team. I feel like we are more together. We just continue to grow with each other. We were in this position last season fighting for that last playoff spot. I had confidence then and confidence now. We’re just going to prepare the same way and be ready to go out there for a fight and try to win a game and get into the playoffs. That’s our goal.
On different energy in the playoffs:That’s a different animal. Obviously, the NCAA Tournament is not easy to get in. You have to fight. Obviously, you have to fight here, but making the playoffs in the West is very tough. It’s not easy, but we knew that from the jump. We knew what we had to do after being in the position last year. I feel like we kinda accomplished most of it, but the job is still not done. We got to continue to push through the rest of the season.
On the fans:That’s big-time. We love them. We give a lot of credit to them. That’s who we go out and play for outside of our families and the organization. We are really thankful for them. They gave us a lot of energy in the past two games, especially tonight. They were big-time. We made some huge plays in the end. It was hard to hear the coverages or plays we were in. We’re thankful for that and we’ll continue to try and fight to get them a win each time we step on the floor. Just continue to keep doing what they are doing. We love it and we feed off of it.
On playing big in the fourth quarter:It’s just learning from the past. Obviously, we all understand it’s winning time. Once it gets late in the game, we are all locked in. We all have to push through and go to that next gear to be able to close out and win the game. As of late, we’ve been doing that very well. IT turned out good for us. We just have to continue to do that. We’ve been saying all season to try to play 48 minutes.
On how Taylor Jenkins’ confidence in the roster has made them better:Just the philosophy that coach has [is important]. He gives everybody the green light. ‘If you have an open shot, take it.’ And then he loves the floaters, the drive-and-kick threes, transition threes, the evolution of the game. He told us in practice last year, when we had a lot of practices, to shoot those shots. And then ultimately drive and create for teammates. When you create for your teammates, somehow the ball comes back to you. It’s just part of the game. We embody that. Like you see every night, we find a way to get 30 assists. We’re just all rolling, we’re all playing and we get out in transition as well.
On how big it is to be a part of the team’s first winning season in his four-year career:It’s special. Coming from Oregon (in college), losing maybe a total of 30 or 25 games, going to losing like 70 or 60 in one season, and then ultimately going through the process of our management getting the right players, putting in the right philosophy and me trying to get into that --- it’s amazing. It’s a great feeling to know we’re [going] in the right direction. We’ve got a lot of good guys on this team that love to play basketball, love their teammates and want to see them succeed as well.
On what kind of attitude he wants his team to have on Sunday against Golden State:Just leave it all out there. Let it hang out. Get your rest and be ready. I think Golden State plays either tomorrow or today, so we got to tune into that game, know their sets, know what they like to do and come ready with the energy and enthusiasm to win a basketball game. That’s all I can ask. Every player on this team, we haven’t been in this spot, playing meaningful basketball. We just got to come ready and play hard. That’s all I want, for the guys to play hard and leave it all out there.
On how much the team considers the way last year ended and how things can be different this year:I think that’s on everybody’s mind. It’s going to be said tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that, but I feel like everyone knows. You got to come ready, you got to be ready. Just bring that energy. That’s all I want. It’s going to be a big game. They’ve got fans, they’ve got great players on that team. So we’ve got to come ready.
On wearing sunglasses after big games, and whether he’s trying to get teammates to wear them:It’s whatever they want [to do]. I love shades, it depends on the day what I wear. But I just try to handle it, every game. I try to be at my best to give my team the best chance of winning.
- The Memphis Grizzlies conclude their league-leading 11th back-to-back in the Second Half of the season against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, May 14. The Grizzlies then will wrap up their regular season slate on May 16 on the road against the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors with a potential tiebreaker on the line.
- Memphis won their fourth consecutive game, tying their longest streak of the second half of the season. (April 4-7) The Grizzlies tied their season-high with their third straight home win.
- The Grizzlies assisted on 30 made baskets for the second straight game, as seven players recorded multiple assists. Memphis owns a 22-3 record when tallying 30+ assists
- In the first three quarters the Grizzlies turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 19 points off turnovers for the Kings. In the fourth quarter, Memphis turned the ball over only twice and allowed zero points off turnovers.
- The Grizzlies improved to 19-3 on the season when shooting over 50 percent from the floor.
- The Grizzlies will have a chance to finish with a .500 home record with their matchup against the Kings on Friday night.
- Jonas Valanciunas was key to the late-game push on both ends with 24 points and 13 rebounds… Valanciunas tallied his 49th double-double of the season in 61 games played, the third most in the NBA behind Nikola Jokic and Russell Westbrook.
- Valanciunas has secured the highest double-double rate (.803) in a single-season in Grizzlies franchise history, which was previously held by Zach Randolph (.707 in 2010-11).
- Dillon Brooks provided a steady stream of offense, finishing with 30 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Tonight was Brooks’ second 30-point game of the season (April 16 vs. CHI). The Grizzlies are 37-14 in the past two season when Brooks scores 20+ points.
- Kyle Anderson tied his career-high with nine assists to go with 14 points and five rebounds. Anderson was one assist shy of his fourth double-double of the season.
- Ja Morant tallied 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in 38 minutes.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 12 points with six rebounds and two blocks in his second start at FedExForum this season.
- Justin James put up a career-high 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting off the bench for the Kings. His previous high was 16 points.