Grizzlies start strong but can’t overcome Atlanta Hawks, 99-92

Despite a strong start, Memphis couldn't sustain their momentum in the second half.

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The Memphis Grizzlies, riding a two-game winning streak, faced the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, aiming for their eighth home win of the season. Despite a strong start, Memphis couldn’t sustain their momentum in the second half, falling to the Hawks 99-92.

Jaren Jackson Jr. elevates to get to the ball! (William Weeks/Tri-State Defender)

Memphis started the game on fire, especially Jaren Jackson Jr., who scored 13 points in the first quarter, propelling Memphis to a 31-21 lead. Santi Aldama contributed seven points in the opening quarter, with the Grizzlies shooting 60 percent from the field.

The Hawks, also on a two-game winning streak, saw Dejounte Murray spark a comeback with 9 points in the second quarter, tying the game at 46-46 by halftime. Murray’s 21 first-half points highlighted the Grizzlies’ season-long struggle in the second quarter.

Dominique Wilikins — The Human Highlight Film — was at FedExForum to cheer on his old team, the Atlanta Hawks. (William Weeks/Tri-State Defender)

Atlanta dominated the third quarter, opening with an 11-2 run to take their largest lead of the game (57-48), prompting a Grizzlies timeout. The Hawks, who have struggled with third-quarter scoring this season, took advantage of this period to solidify their position in the Eastern Conference.

A 9-0 Grizzlies’ run tied the game at 57-57, but the Hawks extended the lead again to ten points. Despite cutting the deficit to five, Memphis trailed 80-72 by the end of the third quarter, hindered by Jackson’s foul trouble.

Jackson’s return in the fourth quarter helped narrow the Hawks’ lead, but Memphis couldn’t secure the lead. The Hawks (29-33) were led by Murray’s career-high-tying 41 points, with support from Bogdan Bogdanovic’s 16 points and Clint Capela’s double-double.

Injured Star Ja Morant was still on the sidelines cheering the Grizz on. (William Weeks/Tri-State Defender)

For Memphis (22-42), Jackson topped the scoring with 21 points. Jake LaRavia and Vince Williams Jr. contributed 14 points each, while Aldama and Lamar Stevens added 13 points apiece.

LaRavia reflected on the game’s final moments: “Sometimes you make it, sometimes you miss. We missed three opportunities to get closer tonight.”

With the Grizzlies’ roster impacted by injuries, Williams has taken on point guard duties. Coach Jenkins praised his decision-making and adaptability under pressure.

Despite the loss, Williams recognized the defensive effort that held the Hawks below their season-average scoring. However, he noted, “They just outrebounded and out-hustled us.”

Reflecting on Murray’s performance, Williams added, “He got hot. His mid-range and three-point shots were consistent tonight.”

The Grizzlies next face the Oklahoma City Thunder, currently second in the Western Conference, on a road trip this Sunday, March 10, at 6 p.m. CDT.