The Memphis Grizzlies entered a highly anticipated game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, their first matchup since their playoff series and the Rudy Gobert trade. The national TV spotlight and the new city jersey added to the excitement of the sport.
You could tell the adrenaline was flowing quickly – long shots and silly fouls. However, the offensive firepower was hot outside the gate. The first quarter felt like a duel between the duo of Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant, and Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. He basically traded in buckets. The Grizzlies were attacking the Wolves’ drop coverage with mid-range play, and the Wolves found their way into the paint and free-throw line. The Grizzlies took a 33-30 lead in the first quarter.
The Grizzlies extended their lead to 13 by exiting the break to start the second quarter. While Desmond Bain found his groove in this period, the run was driven by good ball pace and defensive stops. A reign of fouls ensued on both teams, as Towns picked up his fourth foul – and Rudy Gobert, Steven Adams and Brandon Clark each picked up their third foul. The first half ended with a dazzling business bucket with Jaa Morant and Anthony Edwards as the Grizzlies led 72-63 to close the second quarter.
The Timberwolves started the third quarter with greater urgency and pushed back the Grizzlies’ lead. Then, Desmond got banned. Although Jaa Morant was ruled out of the game with foul trouble during this period, Bane stepped in to provide the offensive punch needed to counter the Minnesota surge – scoring 11 points and throwing out 2 assists. . The Grizzlies regained their defensive lead and went into the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead (96–84).
The Memphis Grizzlies carried their momentum in the fourth quarter, maintaining their double-digit lead for the most part. Ja Morant took the game through a quick pitstop for Lob City – with Brandon Clark and Santi Aldma constantly joining the alleys.
Later, Ja Morant converted another -1 which gave Karl-Anthony Towns his sixth foul of the game. The Grizzlies eventually took care of a business and posted a 114–103 victory in the fourth quarter.
- The Grizzlies sidestep Rudy Gobert with part of their defense. The Grizzlies made the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year ineffective. He attacked him in a pick-and-roll, taking advantage of the screen-generated isolation and switch to go to his sweet spots for the bucket. The Grizzlies also attacked the paint relentlessly without really caring about Gobert protecting the rim. His aggression set the tone for the Grizzlies in this, making his way to victory.
- The Grizzlies take care of business like great teams do. The Grizzlies had complete unity in this matchup. They were off from the start, and their execution and urgency were rock solid. The Grizzlies went through a few storms, primarily a 3-point shooting crisis and a few runs off Minnesota. However, they remained level, stuck to their gameplan, and came up with the win.
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