Taylor Jenkins said it was unacceptable how the Memphis Grizzlies played in their 43-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday. But pregame Monday, the Grizzlies coach said trusted his team would respond better against the Utah Jazz.
Respond they did. There was urgency on defense. Jaren Jackson Jr. attacked the rim several times against Rudy Gobert. Desmond Bane carried the scoring while Ja Morant struggled with his shot.
With 14.8 seconds left, Jackson won a tip at center court after an inadvertent goaltending whistle. Morant grabbedthe ball and drove to the rim before stopping to find Jackson wide open on the left side of the court.
Jackson's 3-pointer wentin with 5.7 seconds left and the Grizzlies celebrated a wild 119-118 road win at Vivint Arena.Here's what we learned as they rallied from a six-point deficit with 1:09 remaining in the game.
MORANT RISING: In third season, Grizzlies' Ja Morant transforming into a star NBA point guard in real time
MORANT REPORT: NBA coaches compared Grizzlies' Ja Morant to Allen Iverson. Is it accurate?
Jackson, who had a season-high 28 points, already sealed a win this season with a late 3-pointer against the Los Angeles Clippers. But this go-ahead shot was much better, especially since he struggled against Jazz center Rudy Gobert in last year's playoffs.
That wasn't the case Monday. He had a block against Gobert that set up a Morant layup to put the Grizzlies (9-8) ahead 112-110. After Morant missed a free throw, Jackson fought with Gobert to secure a rebound and it was initially called defensive goaltending.
Following the replay review, the play was ruled an accidental whistle because Gobert legally touched the ball. That set up Jackson winning the tipthen draining his fourth 3-pointer of the game as Gobert flew by him.
"You don't want to steal it because sometimes if you go too fast, you'll turn it over. You just got to out-jumpand hope the ref throws a good pass," Jackson said.
Remember when Bane missed 17 consecutive 3-pointers over four games this month? That feels like a long time ago.
Bane had a career-high 28points, including 15 points in the first half for his second consecutive strong start. It was his third 20-point game of the season buthis most importantplay came on defense.
On the Jazz's (11-6) final play, Donovan Mitchell dribbled right with Bane guarding him. With both Dillon Brooks and De'Anthony Melton injured, it was up to Bane to defend one of the NBA's best scorers and he forcedMitchell to missthe potential game-winner.
Morant took a career-high 30 shots and made just nine. It didn't matter as hefinished with his sixth 30-point game of the season. As the Grizzlies rallied from an 11-point third quarter deficit against the Jazz,he had 12 points in the period.
He finished with 32 points, eight assists and in the final minute, he made three free throws andforced a steal on Mitchell.
Jenkins said postgame he wouldn't call timeout if Jackson secured the tip because he trusted his team to figure things out on their final play. Morant did just that as he's done often before.
"When you got a player like Ja Morant, you don't got to call too many plays," Bane said. "Just space the floor and read and react."
After perhaps their worst loss of the season, the Grizzlies gottheir sixth win of the seasonby less than 10 points.
Jenkins played nine players instead of his usual 10-man rotation and the reserves delivered. Brandon Clarke had 10 points and nine rebounds and Ziaire Williams had eight points while playing some late minutes in the fourth quarter.
If it's hard to get a read on this team, it's understandable. They've had confusing losses. They're inconsistent. But on nights like Monday, you see where the Grizzlies have grown up hanging tough against elite teams.
Brooks, Melton and Sam Merrill all missed their second consecutive game due to injury. Taylor Jenkins said pregame that Brooks remains day-to-day with hamstring soreness.
Melton, Jenkins added, is expected to miss "a few games" due to right groin soreness. Merrill will be out for a few weeks after an ankle injury at the end of Thursday's win over the Clippers.
The Grizzlies return home to face the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday (7 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast)
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