MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Scar tissue. You gotta hope that’s what the Memphis Grizzlies are building up during their time in the NBA bubble down in Orlando, Florida.
Once again the youngest team in the Association goes to the wire, this time against the playoff veteran San Antonio Spurs in seeding game number two of eight. The Grizz thought they had a boost with news Boston beat Portland to keep Memphis 2.5 games ahead of the Blazers, but it also energizes the Spurs - who could leapfrog Portland for the ninth place by beating the Grizzlies.
DeJuante Murray the man for San Antonio early in the contest. The Grizzlies just can’t keep him out of the paint.
Murray comes through with 21 points and ten rebounds, several of them offensive, to keep the Grizz off-balance all day.
Just like against Portland, Memphis goes down double digits but starts the climb back by using its big men to precision.
Jonas Valanciunas, another double-double, his 34th of the season. 13 points and 11 rebounds. Jeran Jackson, Jr, another strong outing.
The former Michigan State Star, who along with super rookie Ja Morant, is still just 20 years old, showing more of what the Grizzlies thought he would be when they made him the fourth overall pick in 2018.
Jackson displaying his drives, and his ability to splash the long ball, with 21 points. He scores seven in a row in the fourth to get Memphis back in it. Speaking of Morant... this kid can do whatever he wants with the basketball.
He may need to start doing more. He really doesn’t get going until the second half. A near triple-double for Ja, 25 points, nine rebounds, and 9 assists.
One of his dimes a soul taking oop to Bandon Clarke for a jam over Jakob Poeltl. Eight for Clarke. Grayson Allen off the bench for 15, including a couple of big three-pointers down the stretch, and it’s nail-bitingly close once again.
But, the Spurs have a shot caller themselves in Demar DeRozen. The Veteran heats up when needed, cans a tough elbow fadeaway somehow over Triple J to put the Spurs up with under 30 seconds left.
DeRozen pumps, and forces a foul on Dillon Brooks with 1-second left. After missing two earlier, he hits both here, and that is that. Spurs beat the Grizzlies 108-106. A not too happy head coach Taylor Jenkins has these words after the game.
“Disappointed in the result,” said Jenkins. “Credit to the Spurs for the way they came out. A little bit more juice. 50-50-balls. Hustle plays in the first half, and we paid the price for it. But, again, I want to give our guys credit for competing in the second half, but, that’s not good enough.”
The Grizzlies, now 0-2 in the bubble, but still two games up for the eighth and final Western Conference Playoff spot, get right back at it Monday afternoon against the New Orleans Pelicans, 5:30 p.m. in Orlando.