Home NBA Memphis Grizzlies grind the way to ‘wire-to-wire’ wins without Ja Morant

Memphis Grizzlies grind the way to ‘wire-to-wire’ wins without Ja Morant

Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Grizzlies have been in exceptional form despite playing without superstar point guard Ja Morant. Last night, against the shorthanded Dallas Mavericks, Memphis achieved another wire-to-wire win to extend their winning streak to four.

The Grizzlies withheld the Mavericks’ run in the last quarter to get a 97-90 victory away from home. Desmond Bane helped his team retain the lead in the fourth quarter in the way to score a career-high 29 points.

That was a special game for Banes, who had a night for himself as he shot 12-of-20 from the field, leading his team in scoring. He had some timely baskets through the fourth quarter to keep the Grizzlies ahead.

“I’m definitely motivated to play against organizations that passed up on me. There is 29 of them, I went 30th. Especially the ones like Dallas, the ones that they would be a good fit, showing interest during the pre-draft process, right in my backyard,” Bane said in the post-game presser on his motivation.

“I love where I’m at, but if there was a no.2, it’s probably been here. So, I’m glad we got the win tonight.” The sophomore swingman added nine rebounds to conclude a memorable night.

That was the fourth time in the last two weeks that Memphis hasn’t trailed at all while going 4-0 since Morant, their star guard and leading scorer, was sidelined with a left knee sprain.

Whereas offense was a big part of the Grizzlies winning record in the last three games, in Dallas, Taylor Jenkins’s squad had a great defensive game, holding the Mavericks to 58 points in the first three quarters.

Two nights after a 152-79 victory at home against Oklahoma City, Memphis went up 10 points in the first six minutes and led by as many as 17 before holding on late and improving to a season-best three games over 500.

“Tons of credits to our guys to just committing to our standard more, committing to the defensive activity that we have to have every single night,” Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins said in the post game presser.

There was some physicality and activity that forced them into some tough shots and hopefully led to misses as well. Definitely a gritty win on the road. I talked to the guys about the poise after the game, especially when a team goes to a hot run.”

Dallas had little punch offensively until it was too late in their fourth consecutive home loss. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter for the home team, who cut a 15-point deficit to five in the final five minutes but couldn’t get closer.

The Grizzlies had a league-leading +28 net rating in the last four games, as they beat Sacramento, Toronto, OKC and Dallas to climb to the fourth place of the Western Conference standings with a 13-10 record.

During this four-game stint, the Grizzlies have the best defensive rating in the league (90.7) and fourth-best offensive rating, scoring 118.8 points per 100 possessions.

“We just keep talking about the commitment we have to have for full 48 minutes. Sometimes it takes you a moment to kind get that rhythm, understand how to make your mark at the game.

Our activity, especially defensively, has been really good for us, but then, it’s allowed us to get out with confidence in the offensive end, our spacing is getting better, our ball moving is getting better, and we’re making some shots.

So, we are able to get some early leads in the first quarter, and we are able to sustain those leads and build those leads through our continued defensive activity,” Taylor Jenkins said on what changed for Memphis since the start of the season.

The Grizzlies will conclude a two-game road trip against Miami on Tuesday before starting a four-game skid at Memphis, hoping to continue the trend of winning without their star.

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