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Memphis Grizzlies Postgame Report
Postgame Report

Postgame Report: Memphis falls to San Antonio 131-119 despite historic night from Ja Morant

by Memphis Grizzlies

Key Stat of the Night

  • Ja Morant posted a career-high 44 points (18-27 FG, 1-2 3P), including 34 points in the second-half, to go with nine assists and two rebounds and one block in 35 minutes of action. Morant (21 years, 125 days) is the second-youngest Grizzlies player to score 40 points in a game in franchise history. Jaren Jackson Jr. (20 years, 89 days) scored 43 points vs. Milwaukee on Dec. 13, 2019.
  • Morant’s 44-point performance ranks second in Grizzlies franchise history behind Mike Miller’s 45-point performance at Golden State on Feb. 21, 2007. Morant’s 44 points tied Pau Gasol for the most points in a Grizzlies home game (March 28, 2006 vs. Seattle).
  • The only other player in NBA history to record a higher scoring total in the first game of his second season is Elgin Baylor (52 points on Oct. 18, 1959 vs Detroit). Morant is one of six players in NBA history to score 40+ points in the first game of their second season.

Key Run of the Night

  • The Grizzlies led 41-39 with (9:31) to play in the second period before San Antonio ripped off a 25-9 run over the next (9:01) of play. Keldon Johnson connected on a layup with 28.7 seconds to play in the second quarter to give San Antonio a 64-50 advantage.
  • San Antonio out-scored the Grizzlies 36-20 in the second period while out-shooting the Grizzlies 57.1 percent (16-28 FG) to 33.3 percent (8-24 FG) in the quarter.

Game Recap

The Memphis Grizzlies fell the San Antonio Spurs 131-119 on Wednesday night inside FedExForum, in their regular season opener, despite a career-high 44 points from Ja Morant.

Memphis used a strong start on the offensive end to help take command of the game early on. Kyle Anderson connected on a 3-pointer with (7:13) to play in the first to give the Grizzlies a 22-12 advantage. Memphis shot 50.0 percent from the field in the opening period while taking a 33-30 lead into the second quarter. However, San Antonio would flip the game in the second, highlighted by a 25-9 run late in the period. The Grizzlies led 41-39 with (9:31) to play before San Antonio ripped off 25 of the next 34 points. To cap off the run, Keldon Johnson connected on a layup with 28.7 seconds to play in the quarter to give San Antonio a 64-50 advantage, before ultimately taking a 66-53 into the halftime break. San Antonio out-scored the Grizzlies 36-20 in the second period, led by Dejounte Murray with 11 of his 21 points, while out-shooting the Grizzlies 57.1 percent (16-28 FG) to 33.3 percent (8-24 FG) in the quarter.

The two teams traded baskets for most of the third period before the Grizzlies cut the lead to eight points following a basket from Brandon Clarke with 4:34 to play in the quarter. San Antonio stretched their lead back to 11 points heading into the fourth quarter, where they would ultimately pull ahead by as many as 18 points. Morant attempted to carry his team back from the 18-point deficit by scoring a franchise record-tying 34 points in the second-half, but it would not be enough as San Antonio cruised to the 12-point victory. Morant’s career-high came on 18-of-27 shooting and included 18 points in the fourth quarter alone. Memphis was unable to overcome foul troubles that allowed San Antonio to get to the free-throw line 29 times, compared to 18 for the Grizzlies. The charity-stripe proved to be the difference maker as the Grizzlies out-shot San Antonio 51.6 percent to 50.5 percent from the field.

Morant (21 years, 125 days) became the second-youngest Grizzlies player to score 40 points in a game in franchise history. Jaren Jackson Jr. (20 years, 89 days) scored 43 points vs. Milwaukee on Dec. 13, 2019. Morant’s 44-point performance ranks second in Grizzlies franchise history behind Mike Miller’s 45-point performance at Golden State on Feb. 21, 2007. Morant also tied Pau Gasol for the most points in a Grizzlies home game, when Gasol scored 44 points on March 28, 2006, vs. Seattle. Jonas Valanciunas posted a double-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and two assists on 6-of-11 shooting. Valanciunas led the Grizzlies team last season with 39 double-doubles. Dillon Brooks totaled 16 points (7-14 FG, 1-3 3P) to go with four rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes. Desmond Bane made his Memphis Grizzlies debut, totaling six points and four rebounds in ten minutes off the bench as Memphis dropped to 0-1.

DeMar DeRozan totaled 28 points (7-14 FG, 14-15 FT) to go with nine rebounds and nine assists to lead San Antonio. Murray added 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds on 9-of-15 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points (9-17 FG, 1-4 3P), three rebounds and one assist in 29 minutes of action. Keldon Johnson pitched in 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. Patty Mills led San Antonio’s bench with 13 points, two rebounds and two assists as the spurs moved to 1-0 to start the season.

Next Game

The Grizzlies will host Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, Dec. 26, at 4 p.m. inside FedExForum. Fans can watch the game on FOX Sports Southeast with Pete Pranica and Brevin Knight or hear Eric Hasseltine on 92.9 FM ESPN.

Team Quotes

Player Notes

  • Ja Morant scored 34 of his 44 points tonight in the second half, tying Jaren Jackson Jr.'s franchise record for points in a single half. Jackson Jr. scored 34 points after in the second half vs. Milwaukee on Dec. 13, 2019.
  • Jonas Valanciunas posted a double-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and two assists on 6-of-11 shooting. Valanciunas led the Grizzlies team last season with 39 double-doubles.
  • Dillon Brooks totaled 16 points (7-14 FG, 1-3 3P) to go with four rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes.
  • Desmond Bane made his Memphis Grizzlies debut, totaling six points and four rebounds in ten minutes off the bench.
  • DeMar DeRozan totaled 28 points (7-14 FG, 14-15 FT) to go with nine rebounds and nine assists to lead San Antonio.

Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2020-21 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.

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