Grizzlies look to build on finishing touch vs. Spurs

NBA
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The Memphis Grizzlies have been in a giving mood recently – it is the holiday season, after all – but decided to keep something for themselves Saturday: a win over Sacramento when one could have been squandered in the fourth quarter.

Memphis will look to build on that selfish streak when it hosts the San Antonio Spurs, a team that knows a lot about gifting as well, on Monday in a matchup of struggling Southwest Division rivals.

The Grizzlies did what they had to do on Saturday to hold off Sacramento, 119-115, behind balanced scoring and sold defense. Jaren Jackson Jr. led seven Grizzlies scoring in double figures with 18 points, and rookie sensation Ja Morant finished with 13.

Dillon Brooks scored 16 points, and Jae Crowder recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies. The Memphis scoring balance was aided by 32 assists on the Grizzlies’ 40 made field goals.

Grayson Allen was one of three Grizzlies reserves to hit double figures with 13 points, joining De’Anthony Melton with 11 points and Tyus Jones with 12 as the Memphis bench outscored Sacramento’s 46-27. Memphis snapped a two-game losing streak.

“We withstood some runs and responded,” said forward Jae Crowder, who recorded his fifth double-double of the season. “The other two nights, other teams went on runs, and we sort of didn’t answer the bell. Hopefully we’re learning, trying to find out how to close games. That’s a big part of the NBA — being able to close games.”

Morant and fellow Memphis rookie Brandon Clarke played in both games of a back-to-back for the first time in the past two games. Expect that to become more common as the season progresses.

Memphis is 0-5 in games missed by both Morant and Clarke with an average margin of defeat of 12.6 points.

“It was a tough one for us all night for all of our guys,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “But to see them in their first back-to-back – really impressed. We will see it plenty of times through this year.”

The Spurs fly into Memphis after getting walloped at home by the Los Angeles Clippers, 134-109. It was the most lopsided defeat at home for San Antonio this season.

The Spurs were blown out because they coughed up 18 turnovers that Los Angeles converted into 36 points.

“You not going to win that basketball game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, referring to the turnovers. “Must be some kind of record for points off turnovers. Pretty sloppy and not physical enough tonight. So, move on to the next game and try to get that back.”

DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs’ scoring with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, but 20 of those points came in the first half. Marco Belinelli finished with 17 points, hitting 4 of 6 shots, including 4 of 5 attempts from 3-point range.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 12 points, and Dejounte Murray and Derrick White added 10 each to complete the Spurs’ double-digit scoring.

The Clippers pounded San Antonio inside, outscoring them 74-30 in the paint and 23-4 on second-chance points. The Clippers’ 74 points in the paint was a season high for a San Antonio opponent.

“It’s embarrassing,” DeRozan said. “It’s frustrating, especially when you’re out there trying hard, definitely frustrating.”

–Field Level Media

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