Dialing up a complete, 48-minute performance, the Memphis Grizzlies governed the Kings of Sacramento, ending a two-game West Coast road trip with a 124-110 victory.
The Grizzlies, who lost in L.A. to the NBA champions Lakers on Friday, trailed Sacramento 2-0 and then took control, building the lead to as much as 24 point.
“One of our better games all-round from start to finish,” said Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins. “Our defense set the tone for us offensively. … It created the pace that we have been talking about.
Winning the first three quarters was “big for us,” Jenkins said.
“Our bench came in and gave us tremendous minutes. … A lot of individual performances; that is huge for us when we can get that balance. We challenged the guys to win the game on both sides of the ball. The guys came with the right focus.”
Seven Grizzlies registered double-digit scoring: Jonas Valančiūnas: (25), Dillion Brooks (22), Kyle Anderson (17), Ja Morant (16), Brandon Clarke (13), Xavier Tillman (13) and Grayson Allen (10).
“I feel we played close to a 48-minute game,” said Morant. “They went on a run in the fourth quarter. We have to keep our foot on the gas. Teams are not going to lay down. Even though they went on that run, we were able to hold on with stops and buckets.”
Memphis really took control of the game in the third quarter, stretching to its largest lead (96-72) with 1:57 left in the period. The Kings cut the deficit down to 10 points (118-108) with 2:57 left in the game before the Grizzlies hit them with defensive pressure that limited Sacramento to two points the rest of the way.
On the snow front
Aware that a major winter storm was dumping relatively big-time snow on Memphis, Brooks projected making snow angels upon the return. Morant said there would be no playing in snow for him.
“Me and my little one will be in the house on the couch or bed somewhere. I’ve seen snow before. In Murray, Kentucky (where he attended college) it snows. It’s not like it’s my first time. Stay in the house, stay warm; That’s really about it.
“If anyone else wants to go in the snow and build a snowman or make snow angels, they can do that. But at the Morant household, we’ll be in the house warm and watching whatever is on TV. Knowing Kaari it’s probably ‘Bubble Guppies,’ ‘Peppa Pig’ or ‘Madagascar.’”
Notes and next
- Memphis had a deeper bench with the return of Brandon Clarke and Sean McDermott. Clarke had missed the last four games.
- Valančiūnas was a force in the center spot, with 13 rebounds in addition to his 25 points.
- Morant dished 10 assists in his third straight double-double game.
- The win was the first for Memphis in Sacramento since December 2017.
- The Grizzlies are scheduled to play four games in five days at the FedExForum: New Orleans Pelicans (Tuesday Feb. 16); Oklahoma City Thunder (Wednesday); Detroit Pistons (Friday) and the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.