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Brooklyn Nets trounce young Grizzlies, 111-86

The Memphis Grizzlies hosted the Brooklyn Nets in the first of four games over six days. The Nets, on a five-game losing streak, faced the Grizzlies, who were looking for a rare win at FedExForum. Ultimately, the Nets ran away with the game, 111-86.

In his postgame press conference, Taylor Jenkins said, “We’re going to be better on Wednesday. Give the Nets credit. They played great tonight. All of us, we’re just going to be better on Wednesday. It’s as simple as that.”

Entering the game, the Grizzlies were only two games out of the play-in tournament. They came in with the energy and effort needed to compete against a team like the Grizzlies and aimed to prevent them from finding any rhythm at the start.

The Nets jumped out to a 30-18 lead after the first quarter, shooting 54 percent from the field and making 4 of 8 three-point attempts.

They didn’t let up in the second quarter, outscoring the Grizzlies 36-22. By halftime, the Nets had built a 26-point lead, 66-40. Memphis struggled offensively in the first half, reminiscent of a game a couple of weeks ago when they were down by 20 but came back to make it competitive down the stretch.

Dennis Schroder, who signed with the Nets seven games ago, led Brooklyn with 12 points and 4 assists in the first half. The team shot 55 percent from the field and connected on 10 three-pointers. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies had one of their worst halves, shooting 41 percent and making only 4 three-pointers.

Derrick Rose drives to the rim against the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 26. (Warren Roseborough/Tri-State Defender)

The Grizzlies made a push with a 16-7 run to cut the lead to 14 points with 6:12 left in the third quarter. However, the Nets responded with a 6-0 run to extend their lead. A three-pointer by Cam Thomas gave the Nets a 27-point advantage with less than a minute to go in the third period, 89-62.

The Nets’ victory was a team effort, with seven of the ten players who saw significant minutes scoring in double figures. Schroder finished with 18 points and 5 assists. Cam Thomas added 14 points, while Lonnie Walker IV and Dorian Finney-Smith each had 13 points.

Lamar Stevens pulls up for a jumper against Brooklyn. Stevens led the Grizzlies with 17 points in the loss. (Warren Roseborough/Tri-State Defender)

Lamar Stevens led the Grizzlies with 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting and grabbed 8 rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 15 points, 10 from the free-throw line. The Grizzlies’ starters were outscored by the Nets’ starters 66-45, and the team couldn’t mount a comeback in the fourth quarter.

GG Jackson, reflecting on a poor shooting performance (1 for 13), said, “I’ve got to realize we’ve got, like, 24 games left in the season. I’m not the most consistent player in the world, so eventually, that streak was going to snap. It could have been in a better fashion, but you just got to put this game behind us and get on to the next.”

On learning from his mistakes, Jackson said, “Definitely. There were some good things in this game. I got my rebounding back up obviously. I kind of got lost out there defensively. Just growing mistakes. I don’t want to keep using the narrative ‘because I’m too young.’ I feel like I’m here for a reason. You know, I just got to hit the weight room and be as professional as possible.”

The coaches’ challenge to two per game has benefited the Grizzlies, with Jenkins leading the league with a 70 percent success rate. He is among the top coaches in the NBA in this category. He asked for two challenges against the Nets and won both.

The Grizzlies made a couple of roster moves. Jacob Gilyard was released from his two-way contract, and Jordan Goodwin was signed to a two-way contract. Matthew Hurt signed a two-way contract on Monday, marking his second stint with the Grizzlies on such a deal this season.

Next up for the Grizzlies will be a one-game road trip to face the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Feb. 28. This will be the last meeting of the season between the two teams.

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