Grizzlies rally too late, fall to Pelicans 126-116

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The Memphis Grizzlies ended their six game home stand with the 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr game.  After going 5-0 in the home stand, fans were anxious to see if the home team could make it 6-0.  The odds seemed to be in the Grizzlies favor, especially since the New Orleans Pelicans would be without Zion Williamson, Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor.  The Pelicans were able to adapt their game plan to compensate for the players they were missing due to injury.  The Grizzlies, however, didn’t have a counter attack and went on to lose for just the second time since the calendar changed to 2020.


What Went Wrong

The Pelicans came into Monday’s game firing on all cylinders.  They ended the first half shooting 51% from the field (24-47) and 54% from three (15-28).  Unfortunately, the Grizzlies weren’t able to match that effort.  The home team shot just 39% from the field (21-54) and 25% from three (4-16) in the first half.  The Grizzlies ended the half down by 19 points after allowing the Pelicans to outscore them by 18 points in the second quarter.  Defensively, the Grizzlies just didn’t look good, by their own admission. When asked about that second quarter, Jaren Jackson, Jr. said, “They were comfortable early; they hit shots.”  Jackson went on to say, “Sometimes you’ve got to live with that.  But there’s a lot of things we could have done better for sure.”

Although they shot woefully bad from behind the arc Monday, that didn’t stop the Grizzlies from shooting thirty percent of their 103 shots from the three point range.  Sadly, they ended the game hitting only 27% of them.  The Grizzlies made just 9 shots from three point range (9-33), while the Pelicans made 21 shots from three point range (21-48).

Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram combined for 61 of the Pelicans 126 points.  Holiday led all scorers with 36 points (12-18 from the field, 7-10 from three), 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist.  Ingram had 25 points (6-14 from the field, 2-6 from three), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks.  The Pelicans bench also outscored the Grizzlies bench by 8 points (42-34).


What Went Right

The Grizzlies came into the match-up with the Pelicans as the league’s leader in points in the paint.  With Favors and Okafor out, the Grizzlies were able to get a total of 70 points in the paint (35-62).  In addition to dominating the paint, the Grizzlies were also able to grab more rebounds than the Pelicans (51-43).

After an incredibly disappointing second quarter, the Grizzlies were at least able to finish the second half better than the first.  The home team fell behind by as many as 25 points within the game.  They, however, rallied to get within 5 points with 1:28 left in the game.  The Grizzlies shot 51% from the field in the second half (25-49) and managed to hold the Pelicans to 44% in that half.  Additionally, while they only shot 30% from three in that half, they managed to hold the Pelicans to that same percentage.

Dillon Brooks led all Grizzlies scorers with 31 points (12-25 from the field, 3-6 from three), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.  Before Monday’s loss, the Grizzlies were 13-0 when Brooks scored 20 or more points.  Jaren Jackson Jr. followed Brooks with 19 points (7-15 from the field, 3-8 from three), 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 assist.  Jonas Valanciunas had another double double with 14 points (6-8 from the field) and 11 rebounds.  Additionally, DeAnthony Melton and Tyus Jones were effective off the bench combining for 19 of the 34 bench points.

Ja Morant had just 3 points headed into the fourth quarter.  He did what he does and went on to score 13 points in the fourth quarter to try to propel the team to a victory.  He finished the game with 16 points and 9 assists.  Morant said, “I was in the bed for like three quarters.  We got a spark in the fourth quarter, but we fell short.”  The rally, while valiant, was simply too late after a dismal second quarter.



Where Do We Go From Here

The Grizzlies head to Boston to face the Celtics Wednesday.  After struggling this month, the Celtics are coming off of a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers Monday.  The Celtics play a guard heavy line-up similar to the one that the Pelicans shocked the Grizzlies with Monday.  The team is focused on putting this loss behind them and moving on to the next game.


Carmen Patton
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