Depth, selfless play punctuate Grizzlies’ seventh straight win

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by Najee El-Amin —

Three weeks ago, it appeared that the Grizzlies’ hopes for a playoff berth were all but extinguished.

After Monday’s (Feb. 1) 133–102 shellacking of the Spurs in San Antonio, Memphis has new life and currently holds the longest active win streak in the league as of Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 2).

The Grizzlies have won seven straight games against the likes of the Nets, the 76ers, and the Suns.

With the momentum weighing heavily on their side, Memphis took to the AT&T Center looking to keep the ball rolling.

Driven by an entire team effort, the Grizzlies were able to push past the Spurs for their largest margin of victory this season. The first half was rocky for Memphis, but by halftime they were able to secure a 16- point lead.

It was lights out for the Spurs for the rest of the game as San Antonio was unable to cut their deficit into the single digits.

Ultimately, this game made it even more evident that with over one-fifth of the season in the books, the team’s selfless culture is coming to fruition.

Gorgui Dieng added to his already impressive season stat line by leading the team with 19 points and nine rebounds. Even with his spotlight performance, the nearly 7-foot-tall center remained humble when asked how the Grizzlies were able to pull off the victory.

“I mean we just play together. I think that’s all” Said Dieng. “It’s not about like, who’s gonna carry the team… It is team basketball. We have a game plan for every game and we execute.”

During this streak, the name of the game has been unselfish basketball. The Grizzlies have been sharing the rock exceptionally well, recording 37 assists against the Spurs.

They also set a franchise record with nine different players scoring double figures in a single game.

Reigning Rookie of the Year Ja Morant was one of those players, earning 13 points and eight assists.

“It’s very exciting for me because it shows we have a lot of guys on this team who can make plays for not only themselves but for others…it shows in our assist column,” said Morant.

While playing without Jonas Valanciunas (health protocols) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (meniscus surgery recovery) normally would result in a slowing of the offense, other Grizzlies talent was able to step up.

“It shows how deep we are with our roster,” said Morant. “Obviously missing the guys who are hurt is kind of tough, but we have been saying all season we have this next man up mentality and to be ready when your number is called.”

With their latest victory, the Grizzlies inch closer and closer into playoff contention. After being sidelined for 12 days due to COVID-19 protocol, they are now fourth in the Western Conference.

The bears in blue will face the Indiana Pacers on tonight (Feb. 2) with a chance to tie the franchise record of eight straight wins.