In a season that has tested even some of the Memphis Grizzlies’ most faithful fans, a 2-1 record on a three-game road trip was cause for celebration and a reason to think that maybe, just maybe, the winless-at-home Grizzlies could knock off the highly-regarded Boston Celtics.
They didn’t but they came tantalizingly close, losing 102-100 at FedExForum last Sunday. And, yes, Boston now has a 13-1 record against over the last seven seasons.
The bright spots included 30 points and 8 assists from Desmond Bane, who has led the Grizzlies in the absence of star point guard Ja Morant, who works his way through a 25-game suspension for off-the-field misconduct. Much of the post-game talk was about a stellar performance by forward Santi Aldama, who had 28 points and 6 assists.
“Spectacular. I mean, he’s continuing to get better,” said Bane. “I tell him all the time how happy I am for him and the things that he’s doing on the court now. What you see is dynamic. He can do a bunch of different things on the floor. … I mean … him being in a starting lineup just gives us more size, really helps us on the defensive end of the floor.”
A turnover by Aldama in the final minute against Boston helped the Celtics escape with the win.
On the turnover in the final minute of the game head coach Taylor Jenkins said,
“It’s one of those ones that I know he would love to have back,” said head coach Taylor Jenkins. “We would love to have back. He was playing a great game, and it’s a great learning opportunity. Immediately after, he was saying, ‘My bad,’ to his teammates and understood the impact, but we still gave ourselves a chance with one possession. He was a big part of why we even had a chance to win tonight.”
Aldama said, “Having more responsibilities was good. Not necessarily scoring, which obviously I took more shots today, but just trying to make the right read and trying to find the open teammate. For the most part, I do that, but today, there were certain shots that may have been a bit forced. I pride myself in trying to make the right reads, and I could probably be better in some other areas….”
And while he knows there are adjustments to be made playing alongside Memphis two other big men, Aldama said, “but it’s fun.”
Next up for the Grizzlies (3-10) will be a match against the Rockets in Houston on Wednesday (Nov. 22) at 7 p.m. The Rockets’ roster includes former Memphis fan favorite Dillon Brooks. Memphis will return home to face the Phoenix Suns on Friday (Nov. 24) at 4 p.m.