Memphis Grizzlies close out Kings to start 2023 with win

Memphis Grizzlies close out Kings to start 2023 with win
Memphis Grizzlies close out Kings to start 2023 with win

The Memphis Grizzlies continued their journey through Western Conference playoff contenders. After facing the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans for the past 2 weeks, they now face the rising Sacramento Kings to kick off 2023.

Could the Grizzlies prevent the beam from igniting?

Both teams started slow – maybe New Year’s hangover, who knows. The Kings began to generate some separation with 3 3s in a row for a 7-point lead. After the Grizzlies timed out, they responded with a 7-0 run to tie the game. Things fell behind from that point, as the Grizzlies led the Kings 27-26 at the end of the 1st quarter.

Ja Morant had 13 points in the quarter, including that nasty alley oop from John Konchar’s hustle play.

Jaren Jackson Jr. picked up where he left off after his 6 block performance against the Pelicans, totaling 3 blocks just in the first quarter.

The 2nd quarter remained back and forth, as the Grizzlies and Kings tied for second quarter points. Tyus Jones stood out during the quarter. He finished with 15 points in the first half, while hitting 4 three-pointers. His confidence with the pull-up 3 was a cool development during his time in Memphis. The Grizzlies led 59-58 late in the first half.

The whistle didn’t start too well for the Grizzlies in the second half as several calls were made early in the 3rd quarter to bring the Kings to the foul line. There was also a missed call on a Steven Adams boxout that infuriated Taylor Jenkins to the point of a technical foul. They navigated the brutal whistle, however, to maintain a third-quarter advantage. John Konchar continued to fly and make an impact on the open floor, and he was also on the receiving end of two transition buckets – including an acrobatic finish.

The Grizzlies led 91-87 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

The Memphis Grizzlies started the 4th quarter with 3s from Tyus Jones and Jaren Jackson Jr. Then they opened the floodgates with play from Steven Adams and Ja Morant. It felt like Adams was inhaling every offensive rebound and Morant was cutting through the Kings defense to find his way downhill. That final performance was enough to give the Grizzlies a 118-108 victory.

Quick takeaways

  • Trenches. Steven Adams and Domantas Sabonis are two of the league’s top rebounders. Whoever comes away with the advantage here would likely increase their team’s chances of victory. Adams dominated the glass en route to a win. He had 23 rebounds – becoming the first player in franchise history to grab 20+ rebounds in consecutive games – and his offensive rebound was paramount for the Grizzlies to secure the possession advantage. For someone who seems understated when talking about the Grizzlies’ success, Adams shone to give them a big win.
  • Jitty bounces. John Konchar had struggled to score in basketball in December, but he’s starting to pull through. He scored 11 and 8 points in each of the last 2 games, and he came away with 12 in this game. Although the outside shot didn’t fall, his activity flying up and down the floor gave the Grizzlies a jolt of energy on a straight New Year. Pairing “jitty” hustle with an aggressive offense is good for the Grizzlies system.
  • Tyus Jones is crucial. The Grizzlies were missing two of their best 3-point shooters in Desmond Bane and Santi Aldama, and they needed to find a way to close the 3-point gap between themselves and the Kings — a team that shoots 3s at will. Jones did that for the Grizzlies, while giving a boost off the bench to a team missing 2 of their top bench scorers in Aldama and Brandon Clarke. His 5 three-point shots accounted for half of the Grizzlies’ gains from downtown, showing his confidence and improvements as an outside shooter. From scoring to facilitating basketball, Jones continues to be a crucial part of the Grizzlies bench.

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. quick recap Memphis Grizzlies close Kings for start with a win

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