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Postgame Cleanup: Grizzlies fight but fall to Wizards
The Postgame Cleanup is presented by Servicemaster.
Bradley Beal and John Wall combined for 59 points, as the Washington Wizards staved off a late Grizzlies comeback for a 102-100 victory in Memphis on “Wrestling Night” at FedExForum.
Beal scored 34 points (9-18 FG, 5-10 3P, 11-11 FT), while Wall recorded 25 points (8-16 FG, 3-5 3P, 6-8 FT) and nine assists for the Wizards, who won their fourth straight and for the sixth time in the last seven games. Markieff Morris added 12 points and 17 rebounds, making two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining to put Washington up by five.
Tyreke Evans totaled 26 points, five rebounds and seven assists to lead the Grizzlies, who dropped their second straight game. Marc Gasol registered 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and five blocks for his 16th double-double of the season. Mario Chalmers scored 13 points, while JaMychal Green had 11.
The Wizards led by as many as 17 points in the second half and by 15 with 9:34 remaining in the game when the Grizzlies rallied to cut the deficit to 97-94 following Green’s corner three with 1:19 left, capping a 7-0 run. Evans sank another three to cut the deficit to 98-97 with 18.4 seconds on the clock.
Beal made both of his free throws on the next possession, and Evans misfired on a potential game-tying three-pointer on the other end before the Grizzlies put Morris on the line. Memphis outscored Washington 28-15 in the fourth quarter, holding the Wizards to just 2-of-16 shooting (.125) from the field. Washington shot 14 free throws in the final frame, however, and made 11 from the foul line.
Washington built a 12-point lead by the beginning of the second quarter and led 58-50 at halftime.
As part of “Wrestling Night,” Super Grizz, as well as NFL Pro Bowler and University of Memphis star running back DeAngelo Williams helped Jerry “The King” Lawler upend “Double J” Jeff Jarrett and reclaim the Grizzlyweight Championship belt.
The Grizzlies will host the New Orleans Pelicans at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10 at FedExForum. Fans can tune in to FOX Sports Southeast, presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners, or listen to the action on 92.9 FM ESPN / 680 AM.
Key Stats of the Night
- John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 59 of Washington’ 102 points and hit eight of the team’s 10 three-pointers.
Key Run of the Night
- Washington led 79-70 with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter and went on an 8-0 run over the next 1:44 to extend its lead to 17, the largest of the game.
- Memphis outscored Washington 28-15 in the fourth quarter, including a 12-3 run starting at the 2:38 mark to cut the deficit to 98-97 with 18.4 seconds left.
On running the ball full-court at the end of the game:
We were looking to get the ball pushed up the floor, get them flattened, and then we had Tyreke (Evans) coming off a pin-down to bring him to the top of the floor. We were trying to get the defense below everyone and then the top of the floor would have been available for him. He caught it at the top of the floor. He wasn’t comfortable with the catch-and-shoot, so he put it on the floor and tried to create a three.-- Coach Bickerstaff
On how to win in close games:
We’ve got to stop digging holes. You’ve got to give the guys a ton of credit for continuing to fight and continuing to battle back and put ourselves in these position, but we have to correct the errors that put us in those holes. We shouldn’t be down 15 at any point. Our defense has to be more sound. We held them to a 15-point third quarter, so defensively we got busy when we needed to, but we shouldn’t have dug that hole. The first quarter it was 33, the third quarter was 29. If you allow team to get that kind of offensive rhythm and you dig that hole, you’re trying to climb back, and when you’re trying to climb back you’ve got to be perfect. We all know this isn’t a perfect game.-- Coach Bickerstaff
On if the team is improving:
For sure. I think that the team is playing consistently better. Obviously, it takes too much effort for us to get back into games when we dig a hole of 12-14 points. It’s not just because we miss shots, I think it’s because defensively, we make too many mistakes because of lack of communication or paying attention to what they’re trying to do, understanding what their tendencies are and understanding what they’re trying to accomplish at each play. I think those mistakes, when you have that many, it’s hard to come back from it because we don’t have that type of fire power offensively to come back from a 14-point deficit and beat a team in a quarter by 20 points. We have the resilience and the grit to make it a game, but we cannot afford to put ourselves in that position defensively. They had over 25 points in the first three quarters—that’s way too many. I think we finished with 72 after three quarters. They had 86, maybe. That’s too many points, that’s too many points in three quarters, and it’s something we have to take pride in. Everybody has to be more engaged. It starts on the ball. It starts with a guy on the action communicating what’s happening behind him. Then, it’s the three guys’ responsibility to protect that guy, and it’s not just one action because normally teams try to run multiple actions and they have counters for everything, especially good teams like Washington, teams that will be in the playoffs. They were seeing the first action taken away, so you have to pay attention and concentrate. Then, obviously, we have to finish the possession with rebounding.-- Marc Gasol
On how keeps a positive attitude:
What are we 6 games, 7 games out of the playoffs? How many games have we played 41? 42? 39, so we’ve got over half the season to turn things around, that’s the way I look at it. Obviously, there are many ways to look at it, and all of them are respectable and understandable. I’m okay with guys making mistakes, but you cannot keep making the same mistake over and over again. It can’t be a mistake over lack of effort or concentration, those mistakes just can’t happen over and over and over. It’s just not acceptable because it puts everyone in a really tough situation. I understand that it’s a lot of young guys who haven’t seen a lot of action out there, that’s why we have to make them comfortable when things happen. Then, it’s their responsibility to adjust and do a better job on the following action.-- Marc Gasol
- Tyreke Evans (26 points, seven assists, five rebounds) recorded his 12th game this season with 25 points or more.
- Marc Gasol (17 points, 11 rebounds) posted his team-high 16th double-double. Gasol also had five assists and five blocks.
- Mario Chalmers (13 points) scored in double digits for the 11th time this season.