The Memphis Grizzlies banged down the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, earning a 110-103 win with the kind of effort they did not muster in losing the night before to the same team at FedExForum.
“I think it was just our guys embracing the opportunity to respond,” said Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins, who said the team has talked a lot about the need to have “the spirit” to win.
“I didn’t think we came into (Friday night’s) game with the right mentality. I thought we were very average competitively. We weren’t as together as I thought we should be with our standards we talk about. Our guys responded.”
On Friday night, the Warriors (22-21), playing without superstar Steph Curry, got on a roll and Memphis (19-20) could not get within 20 points. The Grizzlies trailed by a deuce (51-49) at the halftime break on Saturday and had gained an eight-point lead (69-61) with 5:45 left to play in the third quarter.
The Warriors would not back down. Jordan Poole would have none that, scoring 26 points after tallying 25 on Friday. Andrew Wiggins, who went for 40 on Friday, totaled 20 points.
The play of the game may have been the late steal by Memphis’ Grayson Allen, who sprinted to the basket for a layup that gave the Grizzlies a 103-100 lead with 1:43 left. Kyle Anderson lobbed an ally-oop to Brandon Clarke on the next offensive possession to seal the victory.
Dillon Brooks said the Grizzlies stayed solid amid “a lot of foul calls. … Our catalyst on defense is JV (Jonas Valanciunus and he’s straight up. He’s got some clutch block shots with his hand. We just sat down and locked in. And I feel like when it’s time for the win, we do that.”
Memphis point guard and floor general Ja Morant linked his performances on Friday and Saturday.
“I went to him (coach Jenkins) once I felt like the game (Saturday) was in our hands and we won to apologize for (Friday) night’s game. I felt like I was a terrible leader out there. I felt like our guys as a team weren’t together. There wasn’t a lot of talk out there, and when we play like that that’s what happens.
“I just went to coach to apologize for not being a leader for last night’s game,” Morant said. “I told him I take full responsibility for that, and tonight I picked up my talk. I was out there playing hard, encouraging guy, and just telling us to just stay the course.”
NOTES AND NEXT:
- Six players scored 14 or more points for Memphis, with Brooks and Valanciunas each with 19. Morant had 14 points and 8 assists, Brandon Clarke had 16 points off the bench and Desmond Bane added 16.
- Memphis controlled the boards, outrebounding the Warriors 60 to 46. Valanciunas had 15 rebounds.
- Steph Curry remained on the DNP list after suffering a tailbone injury earlier in the week.
- Memphis entered the matchup two games behind the Warriors as the teams battle to get into the eight-team Western Conference Playoffs and contend for the NBA Championship.
- The Grizzlies host the Boston Celtics on Monday (March 22) at 8 p.m.