MEMvUTA: Grind City Rewind 3.8.19
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Postgame Report: Strong Second Half Helps Grizzlies Get Past Jazz, 114-104
The Memphis Grizzlies led for the entire second half in earning a second consecutive victory, 114-104, over the Utah Jazz on Friday night at FedExForum. The Grizzlies improved to 27-40 on the season and 17-17 at home. The Jazz fell to 37-28 on the year and are now 16-17 on the road. Memphis won the season series 3-1, with tonight representing the lone victory by the home team in the series.
After a tightly-contested first half, Memphis pulled away in the second, going 22-for-45 (.489) from the floor and 4-of-12 (.333) from three-point range in the half while Utah shot 17-for-43 (.395) overall and 7-for-21 (.333) from beyond the arc.
Mike Conley logged his ninth double-double of the season, finishing with 28 points and 11 assists. Conley now has seven games with at least 20 points and 10 assists this year, his most in a single season (he previously had six such games in 2016-17). Conley scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half, and his 11 assists tied a season high. Jonas Valanciunas added a season-high 27 points on 12-of-17 (.706) shooting while grabbing seven rebounds. Valanciunas’ previous season-high was 26 points on Dec. 5 vs. Philadelphia as a member of the Toronto Raptors. The 7-0 center is now averaging 19.2 points in his nine games with Memphis. Ivan Rabb came off the bench to supply 15 points and six boards. Rabb has now reached double-digits in eight games this season. In his first start since Feb. 4, 2017, Joakim Noah pulled in a team-high eight rebounds while scoring seven points and handing out four assists.
The Grizzlies shot over 50 percent in the game, finishing 46-for-90 (.511) overall and 9-for-22 (.409) from beyond the arc. Memphis is now 9-4 this season when making at least half their shots. The Grizzlies have now shot at least 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three in two-straight games. The Jazz shot 35-for-82 (.427) overall, and 18-for-48 (.375) from deep, setting a season-high for three-point attempts, and tying the most three-point attempts by a Grizzlies opponent (also happened at Houston on Jan. 14). The Grizzlies owned the advantage down low, outscoring the Jazz 60-34 in the paint. Utah entered the night ranked ninth in opponent paint scoring (47.3 ppg), while Memphis was second (41.8). The Jazz did block 10 shots in the game however, the most by a Grizzlies opponent this year. Utah now has seven games with 10-or-more blocks.
Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 38 points, including 20 in the fourth quarter, to go with five assists. Mitchell has dropped 38 points three times this year, which is his second-highest total of the season. Joe Ingles added 14 points and a team-high seven assists. Kyle Korver added 13 points off the bench. Jae Crowder also came off the bench to record his third double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Royce O’Neale rounded out the Jazz scoring with 10 points.
The Grizzlies finished strong in the fourth quarter, shooting 13-for-22 (.591) from the floor. Utah shot a solid 8-for-19 (.421) in the quarter and made just 2-of-8 (.250) three-pointers. With Memphis leading by only four (95-91) with 6:34 left, Valanciunas scored three-straight baskets for the Grizzlies to bring the lead back to double-digits at 101-91. Conley dropped 13 points (5-6 FG) in the quarter to help Memphis close out the game.
Both teams made defensive adjustments coming out of halftime, as Memphis shot 9-for-23 (.391) from the floor and Utah went 9-for-24 (.375) in the third quarter. The Grizzlies opened the third with a 9-0 run to push their lead to 69-53, giving them their largest of the game (16), one they wouldn’t surrender for the rest of the game. Memphis made 4-of-7 triples (.571) to carry an 88-81 lead into the final frame.
The two offenses contrasted each other in the first half, with Memphis pounding the ball inside to outscore Utah 34-14 in the paint and outrebounding them 23-15, and the Jazz focusing on the three, shooting 11-for-27 (.407) from long range in the half. The Grizzlies were efficient from distance as well, making 5-of-10 (.500) triples in the half. Both teams had nine free throw attempts in the half, with Utah hitting six and Memphis making seven.
The Jazz shot the three almost exclusively in the opening quarter, going 5-for-14 (.357) from three-point range. Utah only shot five times from inside the arc in the period, making two. Memphis moved the ball well, assisting on nine of 12 field goals and shooting 57.1 percent overall in the quarter. The Grizzlies committed six turnovers in the quarter, compared to two by the Jazz. Memphis closed the quarter with a 9-3 run, highlighted by a Chandler Parsons trey from 26 feet as time expired, to push the Grizzlies lead to 29-23 at the end of the period.
Memphis led for the entire second quarter, outscoring Utah 31-30, but never led by more than nine. The Jazz continued to emphasize the long ball, shooting 6-for-13 (.462) from three and 11-for-20 overall (.550) in the period, while the Grizzlies made half their shots by going 12-for-24 (1-5 3P). Memphis cleaned up their first-quarter mistakes, committing only one turnover in the quarter and allowing no points off of it, while Utah had six giveaways (two Grizzlies points). The Grizzlies doubled up the Jazz in points in the paint (20-10) during the quarter to build a 60-53 halftime lead.
The Grizzlies will face the Orlando Magic for the first time this season on Sunday, March 10 at 5 p.m. CT at FedExForum. Sunday’s game is also a Kids Free Game, where fans who purchase an adult Terrace Level I, II, III or IV ticket will receive a free ticket for any child age 12 and under. Come out to the game, tune in to FOX Sports Southeast presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN to follow the action.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase single-game tickets can do so now by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com/tickets. Single Game Tickets are also available for purchase at the FedExForum Box Office, ticketmaster.com, online at grizzlies.com/tickets or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX. For more information on the Grizzlies, visit grizzlies.com, ‘like’ Memphis Grizzlies on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram (@memgrizz).
On Jonas Valanciunas:He’s a bailout. He can steady the game for you. Whenever they go on a run or they make a big shot, they make a big play, he’s a comfort blanket, because you can throw the ball down there to him in the post, and he’s efficient. You know you’re going to get a high level shot, a high level percentage shot. That calms the game down, and you know that’s a place you can go to do that. It’s nice to have a guy where you can throw it to him and he can steady the game and go get you a bucket.
On Bruno Caboclo:Every opportunity, every experience he gets is a good one for him. Nights like this are going to happen where the fouls come at you. Things that are sometimes just out of your control. Another guy who plays a similar position as you and is playing well in that moment. The most important thing for Bruno, and this is the way he’s been, is he cares about the team and helping the team win. He hasn’t pouted. He hasn’t complained. He’s very grateful of the opportunity too, and he’s a big part of the team as far as the chemistry goes and the culture goes. It’s an opportunity for him to learn from. The overarching picture and idea and culture that we’re trying to create is a bunch of guys who don’t really care about what happens to them. It’s a bunch of guys who the only thing they care about is the team, and that’s the way that Bruno has been from a personal standpoint. We’re appreciative of that.
On defending the three-point line:We didn’t want to give up 50 threes, but the way that they spaced the floor with all those guys that can shoot the basketball, and then the presence that Rudy Gobert has as a roller, you can’t do normal things versus them because of his size and length. You’re bringing small guys over to him. They can just throw the ball up over the top of him. You have to be in those spots early and not let him get there, but when you do that, it opens up three-point shots with [Donovan] Mitchell and [Joe] Ingles. Those guys that can play the pick-and-roll as well as they can and make passes out of the pick-and-roll, they’re tough [to] guard. Fortunately for us we were able to pull it out. Forty-eight threes and they had some open ones. It’s too many, and we’ll have to improve on that.
On Joakim Noah starting the game:[The Jazz] go bigger, and one of their strengths is the offensive glass when both of [their] bigs are in the game. We wanted to make sure that we could match that early and give ourselves an opportunity to get off to a good start.
On how much of an impact Jonas Valanciunas is on the team:Huge. Whenever he gets down there, I feel like he’s going to score every time. We know that every now and then he misses, but I feel like he has the whole package with the fade away, left-hand, right-hand, hooks and everything. He can pass out of the post and he had a great night tonight, and that’s what we expect every night.
On the significance of Jonas Valanciunas having a great game while matched up against Rudy Gobert:It just shows that he can really square the ball against anybody. It doesn’t matter how tall or what their reputation is. I feel like coming off the injury he had, he just continued to get better every game. As his conditioning continues to get better, he’s going to continue to kill just like tonight.
On his hairstyle:My teammates are telling me to keep it, so I guess until it isn’t working anymore, we’re going to have to keep it for a while.
On winning three of the last four games:It does feel like we’ve got something going. We’re starting to get comfortable, I think, in everybody’s role and understanding what we expect from each other. When guys are on the court, there’s a little bit less second guessing, which allows for us to play more free and play harder. So, we’re doing a good job.
On Jonas Valanciunas:Jonas has been great. He’s really unselfish. He’s a guy that just goes out there and tries to inflict as much pain on the other team as possible. He plays so hard and it’s easy to give him the ball and give him opportunities, because he does such a good job of making space for the guards to get open and get into the paint. We rely on him to do that, him and Joakim [Noah], and both of them are doing a phenomenal job of that and we’re really feeding off of that energy.
On scoring the majority of his points in the second half:It wasn’t necessarily the way I thought the game out. I wanted it to flow. It was the way that they were playing us and it was a lot of pocket passes, a lot of alley-oop opportunities for our big guys there early, kick-outs to our wings, and we were just playing and taking what they give us. I think in the second half, obviously I knew I needed to be more aggressive and try to get to the free throw line, and get into the paint and make plays.
On how much of a help Jonas Valanciunas has been in the paint:He’s an efficient scorer down there and we’re going to keep feeding him. He’s a really good passer too. He makes the right decision and makes the right reads. He’d probably rather pass it than shoot it, honestly. So, we’re just happy with the way that he’s come in and just taken his role and continuously just getting better and making us just that much more of a better team.
On if they had a sense of what Jonas Valanciunas could do before coming to Memphis:I don’t think we all knew exactly the full capacity of his game. I think we knew and saw bits and pieces of it just in the few times we played him in the year, but we’re thrilled with what he’s able to do and what he’s able to bring. It seems like he’s just going to get better and better the more he learns our system, the more he learns how to play with the rest of us. So, we’re excited.
- The Grizzlies shot over 50 percent in the game, finishing 46-for-90 (.511) overall and 9-for-22 (.409) from beyond the arc. Memphis is now 9-4 this season when making at least half their shots. The Grizzlies have shot at least 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range in two straight games for the first time since Dec. 30-31, 2017.
- The Jazz shot 35-for-82 (.427) overall, and 18-for-48 (.375) from deep, setting a season-high for three-point attempts. Utah tied the most three-point makes by a Grizzlies opponent (done three times previously) and attempts (also happened at Houston on Jan. 14).
- Memphis won the season series 3-1, with tonight representing the lone victory by the home team in the series.
- The Grizzlies owned the advantage down low, outscoring the Jazz 60-34 in the paint. Utah entered the night ranked ninth in opponent paint scoring (47.3 ppg), while Memphis was second (41.8).
- The Jazz blocked 10 shots, the most by a Grizzlies opponent this year, while the Grizzlies had four. Utah now has seven games with 10-or-more blocks
- Mike Conley logged his ninth double-double of the season, finishing with 28 points and 11 assists. Conley now has seven games with 20-plus points and 10-plus assists this year, his most in a single season (previously had six such games in 2016-17). Conley scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half, and his 11 assists tied a season-high.
- Jonas Valanciunas added a season-high 27 points on 12-of-17 (.706) shooting while grabbing seven rebounds. Valanciunas’ previous season-high was 26 points on Dec. 5 vs. Philadelphia, as a member of the Toronto Raptors. The 7-0 center is now averaging 19.2 points in his nine games with Memphis.
- Ivan Rabb came off the bench to supply 15 points and six boards. Rabb has now reached double-digits in eight games this season.
- In his first start since Feb. 4, 2017, Joakim Noah pulled in a team-high eight rebounds while scoring seven points and handing out four assists.
- Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 38 points to go with five assists. Mitchell has dropped 38 points three times this year, which is his second-highest total of the season.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase tickets to the Grizzlies’ remaining contests may do so now 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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