After losing by 29 points on Friday night, many expected the Grizzlies to have a bounce-back game against the pitiful Hawks Saturday night at FedExForum.
They did and it was any easy-doing task.
Jonas Valanciunas led the Grizzlies with 27 points and 17 rebounds, and rookie guard Ja Morant provided 24 points, five rebounds and six assists as the Grizzlies (32-32) disposed of the Hawks(19-46) 118-101.
All five starters for the Grizzlies scored in double figures as well, with shooting guards De’Anthony Melton and Dillon Brooks producing 13 points, and forward Kyle Anderson had 12 points. Those numbers provided the Grizzlies with a well-balanced attack that the Hawks could not stop.
“It does not matter what five guys we put out there, they play our style of basketball more often than not, whether it’s a mixture of starters or bench players,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said after the game.
“Our bench has been huge for us, and for tonight it was guys like Josh Jackson scoring or rebounding with John Konchar.”
The Grizzlies were extremely efficient Saturday night, as they shot 49 percent from the field and 36 percent from the three-point line. Their defense provided problems all night for the visiting Hawks, as Atlanta connected on only 34 percent of its field goals and 27 percent of its three-pointers.
Led by forward John Collins(27 points and eight rebounds) and superstar guard Trae Young (16 points, five rebounds and four assists), the Hawks attempted to make a game of it in the third quarter after doing little for the first half.
They outscored the Grizzlies in the third frame, but becaue the Grizzlies had built such a scoring cushion, the Hawks were unable to overcome their deficit.
In a game featuring the highly touted point guard matchup of NBA All-Star Young and Morant, Young was limited to 4 of 16 shooting, including 1-10 from the three-point line.
“We are both young guys and are trying to prove that we can compete against the best in the league every night,” Morant said, referring to Young.
“He’s a great player, a special player, especially for his team. I can’t really tell you how to guard him, as he’s been torching the league, but it was a team effort and we were able to come out with a win.”
A night to remember for ‘Vince’
It was a special night for former Grizzlies forward Vince Carter, as the 22-year veteran made his way through Memphis for the last time as a player.
The 42-year-old Carter went 2 of 7 shooting from the field, scoring five points.
Fans roared whenever Carter shot the ball, showing their gratitude and appreciation for all that he contributed to the franchise.
NEXT: The Grizzlies host the Orlando Magic at 7 tonight.