The Grizzlies seem to have their swagger back.
For the second game in a row the Memphis Grizzlies beat down their opponent in brutal fashion. After a stunning 17-point upset of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Grizzlies were able to take with them their newly acquired momentum to Atlanta where they victimized the Hawks by the score of 127-88, the widest margin of victory on the season for the Grizz.
The Grizzlies won by 39 tonight pic.twitter.com/T8YsM80jod
— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) March 3, 2020
However, it was not the wire-to-wire beat down the Grizzlies had found themselves on the wrong side of during their four-game road trip out west. Memphis actually was forced to dig themselves out of an early hole after opening Monday night’s matchup 0-for-11.
While the starters came out cold, the Grizz bench was able to give them some relief. The hot night from the reserves was underway early as the bench put up 13 points in the first quarter to not only weather the early storm, but to take the Grizzlies to the second quarter with a 24-23 lead.
After a back-and-forth start to the second quarter, Memphis was able to string together multiple stops contributing to a 24-8 run, giving the Grizz a 14-point lead with under four minutes to go before halftime.
Unfortunately, they could not finish the half in style. The team scored just three points in the final 3:43 of the half, keeping Atlanta within striking distance as the Hawks cut the Grizzlies advantage to just 52-49 at the half.
The Hawks team that willed their way back into the game before the break was nowhere to be found in the second half. Memphis outscored Atlanta 75-39 in the last two quarters due in part to an explosive half from the aforementioned Grizzlies bench, who would finish the game with a season-best 73 points.
Nine players for Memphis finished in double digits. Gorgui Dieng led the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Jackson dropped 16 points in the victory followed by 15-point efforts from Tyus Jones and Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas secured his fourth consecutive double-double as he hauled in 15 boards as well.
Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks each had 13 points on the evening and Anthony Tolliver had 12 points in his Grizzlies debut, which featured four three-pointers. DeAnthony Melton finished with 11 and John Konchar rounded out the scorers in double-figures for the Grizz.
Whew, did you get all of that?
After a demoralizing road trip out west had appeared to have deflated the Memphis Grizzlies, it appears as if first-year head coach Taylor Jenkins would not let the team wallow in the wake of five consecutive losses on top of two key injuries in Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke.
The victory in Atlanta marked the first leg of a three-game road trip. Next up will be a Wednesday matchup with a Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets squad.
Each game from here on out will hold more importance than the last as Memphis tries to stave off the Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, and Trail Blazers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. All four of those teams are within four games of the Grizzlies with 21 games to play.