The Memphis Grizzlies had a highly anticipated game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in their first game since the playoff series and the Rudy Gobert trade. The national TV spotlight and new City jerseys enhanced the atmosphere of the game.
You could tell the adrenaline was flowing early on — long shots and silly fouls. However, the offensive firepower was fiery. The first quarter felt like a matchup between the duo of Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant and Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. They trade buckets fairly seamlessly. The Grizzlies attacked the Wolves’ pitching range with a midrange offense, and the Wolves found their way into the paint and the free throw line. The Grizzlies led 33-30 at the end of the first quarter.
The Grizzlies opened the second quarter at halftime to extend their lead to 13 points. While Desmond Bane found his best form during the period, good ball movement and defensive stops fueled the game. Both teams started fouling, and Towns got his 4th foul — Rudy Gobert, Steven Adams and Brandon Clark each got their 3rd. Ja Morant and Anthony Edwards dazzled for basket changes at the end of the first half, and the Grizzlies ended the second quarter with a 72-63 lead.
The Timberwolves started the third quarter with more urgency, edging down the Grizzlies’ lead. Then, Desmond Bain happened. Although Ja Morant was eliminated midway through foul trouble, Bane stepped up and provided the offensive punch necessary to fend off Minnesota’s surge — scoring 11 points and dishing out two assists. The Grizzlies regained the defensive edge and entered the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead (96-84).
The Memphis Grizzlies continued their momentum in the fourth quarter, maintaining a double-digit lead most of the time. Ja Morant took the game to Highball City with a quick pit stop — linking up with Brandon Clarke and Santi Aldama in consecutive alley-oops.
Later, Ja Morant converted a draw to -1, giving Karl-Anthony Towns his sixth foul of the game. The Grizzlies finally got a business done and won 114-103 in the fourth quarter.
- The Grizzlies singled out Rudy Gobert for part of their defense. The Grizzlies nullified the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. They attacked him in the pick-and-roll, taking advantage of the separation from the screen and switching to their sweet spot to shoot. The Grizzlies also just attacked the paint relentlessly without really caring about Gobert protecting the rim. Their aggression set the tone for the Grizzlies in this game, and they stormed all the way to the win.
- The Grizzlies handle business like a great team. The Grizzlies have a lot of unity in this game. They were locked in from the start, and their execution and urgency were rock solid. The Grizzlies have weathered some storms, mostly 3-point shooting issues and some runs from Minnesota. However, they kept their cool, stuck to their game plan, and won.
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