Grizzlies snap 2-game losing streak with dominant win over Washington Wizards, 109-97

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For only the eighth time this season, Memphis Grizzlies fans left FedExForum on a winning note. Streamers were falling and the Celebration song was piping throughout the arena. The Grizzlies defeated the Washington Wizards 109-97, snapping a two-game losing streak.

In a battle of two lottery-bound teams, it was the Grizzlies who jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. And fans in attendance for “Hoops for St. Jude” night were rowdy and raucous throughout.

“The crowd was into it,” said Grizzlies Coach Taylor Jenkins. “We flatlined there in that third quarter, but the fans stuck with us throughout. Credit to our guys – I told them midway in the fourth, we finally figured it out: Take away in the paint, wall it off.

“Our fans were behind us and luckily a single-digit lead turned into a double-digit lead, and we put some clamps down to get the win,” he said.

You may not know all of the players on the team, but they have one thing in common: they all play hard and are looking to make a great impression on this team or another team.

Trey Jemison carried the Grizzlies in the first quarter. Jemison scored 10 points and grabbed three rebounds in the opening quarter. Memphis scored 29 points in the quarter to take a 21-9 lead to end the quarter. Memphis had 18 rebounds and 7 assists in the quarter.

The Memphis domination would continue into the second quarter. GG Jackson had 9 points and Jake LaRavia had 7 points in the quarter. The Grizzlies stayed hot on the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds. Memphis led at the half 67-42.

The Grizzlies continued to have a point lead (72-47) with 9:51 left in the third quarter. The Wizards didn’t quit and made a run to get back into the game. Memphis’ lead would go as low as 12 points in the third quarter with 6:20 left (77-65). That would be the closest that Washington would get to Memphis in the quarter. The Grizzlies took an 85-70 lead into the fourth quarter.

Washington cut it to an eight-point lead with 6:20 left on a Jared Butler layup, forcing the Grizzlies to call a timeout. Jemison ended a Washington 13-2 run with 4:15 left to put Memphis up 96-88. A Luke Kennard three-pointer with 3:05 left put the lead back to over ten points (101-91).

Washington (11-54) was led by Kyle Kuzma with 24 points and 7 rebounds. Corey Kispert had 22 points. Deni Avdija had 16 points and former Memphis Grizzly Tyus Jones had 4 points and 9 assists. A video of Jones’ time in Memphis was shown, and the crowd gave him an appreciative applause. He could be seen saying thank you to the fans.

Jemison had a career night for the Grizzlies, scoring 24 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. GG Jackson had 19 points off the bench and LaRavia had 16 points. Kennard finished with 13 points and Santi Aldama had 11 points. The Grizzlies out-rebounded the Wizards 53-28. Jordan Goodwin grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.

On setting the tone to start the game Jemison said, “[Taylor Jenkins] was telling me tonight that they didn’t have a five-man, so to go out there and be solid. You got to be dominant in the paint and just use my weight against all of them, against Kyle Kuzma. That’s what I did. I went out there and just sat on him the whole night, right where I wanted him.”

Aldama on the bench performance said, “We have two 10-day guys [DeJon Jarreau, Wenyen Gabriel] that have been with us for a couple of days. Everybody’s learning, and they’ve done a great job. I think it’s just about staying with it, playing Grizzlies basketball, and just being there for each other.”

On Jackson’s growth, Jenkins said, “It’s fun to watch [GG Jackson’s] growth. I always talk about his coachability. The first thing he said when we went around and high-fived everyone, he came up to us and said, ‘My bad about those turnovers.’ I said, ‘Man, you’re making great plays out there. You’re whipping passes out there. That’s two games in a row. You’re collapsing the defense. They don’t have a shot blocker, and you’re able to go finish at the rim.’”

Next up for the Grizzlies will be a short turnaround. They will host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. at FedExForum. Memphis will also host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m., and it will be wrestling night. There will be a ring set up outside before and during the game.