Nickeil Alexander-Walker takes a lefty layup at Memphis

Panzura postgame wrap: Grizzlies 115, Pelicans 110

Grizzlies (35-33), Pelicans (31-38)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

For the first time in six attempts over two seasons, Memphis finally prevailed against New Orleans on Monday. Despite the Pelicans playing without multiple key contributors, including a pair of recent All-Stars, it wasn’t easy for the Grizzlies.

Memphis trailed by two points entering the fourth quarter, but outscored New Orleans down the stretch, holding off the visitors for a victory that clinched a Western Conference play-in tournament berth. The Pelicans saw their postseason hopes greatly diminish, with only a perfect 3-0 ending to the campaign – combined with a winless San Antonio close – yielding the No. 10 seed.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Leading by four in the final 20 seconds, Memphis kept a lengthy possession alive with an offensive rebound, resulting in the Grizzlies being fouled on purpose by the Pelicans to stop the clock. Kyle Anderson made one of two free throws for a 115-110 edge with 5.9 seconds remaining.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been excellent in two games since returning from a severe ankle sprain, showing no signs of the 18-game layoff he experienced in April and May. The second-year guard shot 8/16 from the floor and tallied 18 points, while handing out six assists.

Alexander-Walker noted after the game that the minute restriction he’s been under (24 minutes Monday) made it easier for him to handle the physical aspect of starting his comeback with a back-to-back on the road.

BY THE NUMBERS

19: Memphis blocks. The Grizzlies did an incredible job protecting the rim and the paint. That was an opponent record in New Orleans franchise history. “I thought that was the difference in the game,” Stan Van Gundy said of Memphis’ rejections.

33/74: New Orleans shooting from two-point range. That means – unless there was a Grizzlies swat or two on a Pelicans three-point shot, which is unlikely – of the Pelicans’ 41 two-point misses, 19 were blocked.

REVISITING THREE KEYS TO VICTORY PRESENTED BY FANDUEL

ALL HANDS ON DECK

Everyone showed up. The first nine New Orleans players who checked into Monday’s game all had at least eight points. The entire starting lineup, as well as two Pelicans reserves, contributed double-figure scoring.

LOW TURNOVERS

It was a very solid night of caretaking. The Pelicans only committed a dozen turnovers, preventing the Grizzlies from feasting on transition chances.

GET HOT VS. GRIZZLIES

If New Orleans could just play Memphis every night, perhaps some of the concerns about the Pelicans’ three-point shooting would be nonexistent. The Pelicans shot 44/94 (47 percent) from the arc during the three-game season series.

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2020-21 Game #69: Pelicans at Grizzlies

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