Grizzlies drub Dubs, 131-110, as Warriors’ road woes continue
Something fascinating is happening with the Memphis Grizzlies. For approximately 18 seconds, they were the most likable team in the NBA. Between the talented young core of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane, and respected rotation staples like Steven Adams, Tyus Jones, Ziaire Williams, and others, what wasn’t to like?
Then, they started acting like a dynasty, despite the fact that they’d accomplished next to nothing; Dillon Brooks played dirty, dirtier, and dirtiest; and on top of all that, Ja Morant found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. They’ve been sliding in the West for weeks, too. I suppose one might say they could use a break, even if no one wants to give it to them.
Enter the visiting Warriors, a remedy for all home teams in desperate need of a convincing win. After Thursday night’s loss, Golden State falls to 7-26 on the road and has now lost three in a row. Meanwhile, Memphis snaps a three-game losing streak.
Per usual, Steph Curry led the Warriors with 29 points; Jordan Poole had 22 in his stead, but was a whopping -33 in 34 minutes. Jones (22 points and 11 assists), Bane (21), and Jackson Jr. (21 and 9 rebounds) carried the Grizz.
As for Dillon Brooks and Draymond Green… well…
Jazz snap skid in Orlando, 131-124
Speaking of a team in dire need of a win… The Jazz! They took a four-game losing streak into Thursday night’s tilt with the Magic and promptly kicked it to the curb, thanks to Lauri Markkanen’s 10th straight game with 20-plus points. He dropped 33 on Orlando to lead the Jazz. In addition, Talen Horton-Tucker scored 23 and dished out eight assists.
Paolo Banchero (26), Markelle Fultz (25), and Franz Wagner (24) were great for the Magic, but they’ve now lost three in a row. Their slim playoff hopes get slimmer and slimmer with every skid.
Hornets handle Pistons, 113-103
It essentially took just three Hornets to hold off the Pistons altogether on Thursday. Kelly Oubre Jr. (27 points), Terry Rozier (21-6-9), and P.J. Washington (20 points, three blocks, and two steals) led the way for Charlotte, while Detroit didn’t see a single player cross the 20-point threshold. They’ve lost 10 in a row; it’s Wemby time, baby.
Pacers top Rockets in OT, 134-125
A fun stat: In the seven games since the All-Star break, the Indiana Pacers are averaging a tick above 126 points per game. That’s fourth in the NBA during that span, trailing only the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, and Dallas Mavericks, and only two of those seven games went to OT. In short: The Indiana offense is cooking.
They were cooking with gas on Thursday, finishing off the paltry Rockets in overtime despite what was perhaps the best game of Jabari Smith Jr.’s young career. The Houston rookie scored 30 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, and snatched two steals, but it wasn’t enough to overpower Tyrese Haliburton’s 29 and 19 outing. Myles Turner was an effective second option to Haliburton for Indiana, as the big man scored 21 points and blocked seven shots.
Bucks hold off Nets, 118-113
No Giannis? No problem. Bobby Portis (28 points and 13 rebounds) and Brook Lopez (24 and 10) took the scoring duties for themselves on Thursday as Milwaukee won its third straight and its 19th out of the previous 20 games. Brooklyn, meanwhile, got its three-game winning streak snapped, and given Mikal Bridge’s poor shooting night, it adds up. He scored fewer than 20 points for just the third time since joining the Nets, finishing with 10 points on four-of-13 shooting. Though the Brooklyn bench made up for it, scoring 98 points — the most by any NBA bench since the league began tracking the stat in 1971 — it wasn’t enough.
Kings survive Knicks comeback bid, 122-117
Thursday saved the best for last; I might as well do the same. Though the Kings lead by as many as 21 points, the Knicks are no slouch. They made a furious second-half comeback to tie the game midway through the fourth. It came down to the final few seconds, where it was left up to Domantas Sabonis to knock down a pair of free-throws in order to ice it. He avoided pulling a Grant Williams and nailed both, stretching the Kings lead to five for good with six seconds remaining. It was a thriller so full of stat-stuffing efforts, it requires its own bulleted list to do everyone involved justice.
For the Kings, who are now 7-1 since the All-Star break:
- Domantas Sabonis: 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, good for his ninth triple-double of the season
- De’Aaron Fox: 24 points, 16 of which came in the fourth quarter, plus seven assists and four steals
- Malik Monk: 19 points (six-of-10 from the field, four-of-six from three), five rebounds, and five assists off the bench.
- Trey Lyles: 16 points and six rebounds, also off the bench.
And for the Knicks, who have now lost two in a row on the heels of their recent nine-game winning streak:
- RJ Barrett: 25 points to lead all scorers.
- Julius Randle: 23 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
- Quentin Grimes: 19 points on seven-of-13 shooting, four of those makes coming from deep.
- Jalen Brunson: 19 points in just 19 minutes, though the story is that he left at halftime with left foot soreness.
- Josh Hart: Nine points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists off the bench. Gosh, he’s the perfect Knick.
- As a team, the Knicks shot 13-of-50 (26 percent) from three. Despite pulling down 23 offensive rebounds, that sort of clip from deep will hurt any effort.