Quick summary. The Memphis Grizzlies close out the Kings to start 2023 with a win

The Memphis Grizzlies continued their run among the Western Conference playoff contenders. After playing the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and New Orleans Pelicans in the past 2 weeks, they now take on the surging Sacramento Kings to start 2023.

Can the Grizzlies prevent the beam from lighting up?

Both teams got off to a slow start, maybe a Christmas hangover, who knows. The Kings started to create some separation with 3 straight 3’s to take a 7 point lead. After a Grizzlies timeout, they responded with a 7-0 run to tie the game. Things remained back and forth from that point as the Grizzlies led the Kings 27-26 late in the 1st quarter.

Ja Morant scored 13 points in the quarter, including this wicked basket off a John Konchar scramble.

Jaren Jackson Jr. picked up where he left off after his 6-block performance against the Pelicans, with 3 blocks in just the first quarter.

The 2nd quarter remained back and forth as the Grizzlies and Kings tied for second quarter points. Tyus Jones was outstanding in the quarter. He finished the first half with 15 points and hit 4 three-pointers. His confidence with the stretch 3 was a great development during his time in Memphis. At the end of the first half, the Grizzlies led 59-58.

The whistle didn’t get off to a great start for the Grizzlies in the second half as their were several calls early in the 3rd quarter to get the Kings to the foul line. There was also a missed call on Steven Adams’ box-out that upset Taylor Jenkins to a technical foul. They navigated the harsh whistle, although they held the lead in the third quarter. John Konchar continued to fly around and make an impact in the open floor, and he was also on the receiving end of two transition buckets, including one acrobatic finish.

The Grizzlies led 91-87 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

The Memphis Grizzlies opened the fourth quarter with 3s by Tyus Jones and Jaren Jackson Jr., then they opened the scoring with plays by Steven Adams and Ja Morant. Adams seemed to inhale every offensive rebound and Morant cut through the Kings defense to find his way downfield. That shutout performance was enough to lead the Grizzlies to a 118-108 victory.

Quick preparation

  • Trenches. Steven Adams and Domantas Sabonis are two of the league’s best rebounders in basketball. Whoever gets the upper hand here will likely help their team’s chances of winning. Adams dominated the glass en route to the win. He had 23 rebounds, becoming the first player in franchise history to record 20+ rebounds in back-to-back games, and his offensive output was crucial for the Grizzlies to secure the possession advantage. For someone who seems underrated when discussing the Grizzlies’ success, Adams shined to give them a big win.
  • Jeetee is back. John Konchar struggled to shoot the basketball in December, but he’s starting to come out of it. In each of the past 2 games, he scored 11 and 8 points, and in this game he came out with 12 points. Although the outside shot wasn’t falling, his activity flying up and down the floor gave the Grizzlies a jolt of energy heading into the New Year. Pairing “girl” excitement with an aggressive offense bodes well for the Grizzlies’ system.
  • Tyus Jones is crucial. The Grizzlies were missing their top two 3-pointers in Desmond Bain and Santi Aldama, and they had to find a way to close the 3-point gap between them and the Kings; a team that shoots the 3 at will. Jones did just that for the Grizzlies while also boosting the bench for a team that was missing two of its top scorers in Aldama and Brandon Clark. His 5 three-pointers accounted for half of the Grizzlies’ from downtown, showing his confidence and improvement as an outside shooter. Whether it’s scoring or contributing the basketball, Jones continues to be a crucial element of the Grizzlies’ bench.

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