Wednesday, February 24

The Grizzlies begin to curdle, host the Pistons


Taylor Jenkins likes the way his starting lineup is brewing. The Memphis Grizzlies coach hopes the chemistry will lead him on a winning streak.

Memphis rebounded from a 31-point loss to New Orleans on Tuesday with a 122-113 victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Grizzlies entertain the Detroit Pistons on Friday.

All of Memphis starters scored at least 15 points Wednesday. Center Jonas Valanciunas and wing Grayson Allen each had 22 points. Power forward Kyle Anderson scored 20 points and fired up the defense with five steals.

Guard Dillon Brooks scored 17 points and second-year point guard Ja Morant posted the third triple-double of his career with 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Morant fired just 4 of 14 shots from the field, but contributed in other areas.

“I’m always looking to share the ball,” Morant said. “Obviously, I was missing a few bunnies, but I kept playing. As far as rebounding, just being able to help our guys. Once we stop and bounce, we go out and run. If I get it, I will.” I’m already looking to move on. “

Morant has nine or more assists in six of his last seven games (he had eight dimes in the other game) and having a set lineup has contributed to that.

“We had to turn things around throughout the year, but now that we got back to that, that lineup puts these guys in really good places,” Jenkins said. “These guys are complementary to each other: different ways of playing, different shooting skills, positional versatility. It’s good that this group is finding some rhythm.”

Detroit swept the two-game series with Memphis two seasons ago, but the Grizzlies captured both games last season. Memphis won at Detroit 125-112 behind Brooks’ 27 points, then took the rematch at Memphis 96-82 when Valanciunas accumulated 26 points and 17 rebounds.

The Pistons blew 43 points off Jerami Grant on Wednesday, falling to Chicago 105-102 even after building a 25-point lead in the first half. Detroit was supposed to start a five-game road trip that night in Dallas, but complications due to severe weather in Texas forced a postponement. The Bulls also had a postponement Wednesday, and the NBA quickly arranged for the Central Division rivals to meet.

Chicago scored the last six points of the first half and outscored the Pistons 27-12 in the third quarter to erase Detroit’s big lead.

“Winning matters about personal play,” Grant said. “I think we could have done a better job in the third quarter. We lost the lead and down the stretch and missed a couple of shots that we normally do.”

Coach Dwane Casey was disappointed in the way his Pistons went down after his strong start.

“The only thing we can do better, all of us, is play harder,” Casey said. “With the same energy you played in the first half, you have to close the second quarter and start the third quarter with the same energy. You can’t say, ‘We have a 17, 18-point lead.’ No, no. That’s when you really put your foot down, set the tone and make them call for the first time out. “

–Field level media



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