It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but the Memphis Grizzlies pushed their record to 2-0 in Summer league play with a gritty (what else?) win over the Sacramento Kings by an 81-75 count inside Cox Pavilion.
The Grizzlies took control of the scoreboard in the second quarter, outscoring the Kings 24-17 in the frame. In that period, the Grizzlies hit 10 of 18 shots and dominated on the glass against the cold-shooting Kings.
Still, the Grizzlies nearly blew a 17-point lead, much as they did a 16-point advantage Saturday against Washington. But Wayne Selden and Jarrell Martin rose to the occasion. Those two Grizz posted 17 of the team’s 21 points. Clinging to a 71-68 advantage with just under three minutes remaining, Selden connected on two free throws, then saw Martin slam back a Baldwin miss and next assisted on another Martin slam off a gorgeous press-break. That picture-perfect execution slammed the door on the Kings.
Sacramento got 17 points and 4 assists from heralded rookie De’Aaron Fox, but he had more turnovers than assists and more fouls than either category. Justin Jackson’s shot went MIA as he clanked all eight attempts from deep, finishing with four points.
Quick takeaways from the game:
- Nice bounce back game for Jarrell Martin. After a less-than-stellar outing against Washington, Jarrell showed why Memphis drafted him in the first place: perimeter shooting and inside presence. His 21-point, 10-rebound effort was a definite upgrade.
- Wayne Selden played strong, assertive basketball and if this continues, he’ll be impossible to keep out of the rotation. He filled up the stat sheet in all the right columns and was a gamer when Sacramento made their run.
- Wade Baldwin was much better in game two. He rebounded the ball well (ten boards) and scored passably well. He also turned it over just once. He also accepted the challenge of dealing with lottery pick De’Aaron Fox. Now, he needs to string strong performances together.
- Rade Zagorac looked much more comfortable in posting six points and five rebounds.
- After a strong performance against Washington, Kobi Simmons came back to earth with a team-worst -13. In fact, the entire Grizzlies bench was in negative territory and was part of the reason Memphis nearly gave away the lead.
Overall, the Grizzlies played with greater force and precision than Sacramento. The Kings bricked shot after shot and if not for the rebounding efforts of Skal Labissiere and Jack Cooley, the Grizzlies would have won comfortably.
The vibe around Sunday night’s Summer League matchup between the Grizzlies and Kings was an odd combination of family reunion and family feudin’.
The most beloved played to wear Beale Street Blue, Zach Randolph, is now a King and the most decorated player to wear the bear, Vince Carter, will be his teammate in the California capital. The only constant is change, but this was a stunner for Grizzlies fans.
There is no quick and concise way to summarize Z-Bo’s impact in Memphis, except for this: Z’Bo is Memphis. He understands having to scrap and scrape and fight from the bottom up. There’s no glitter on his game, just grit and grind. And despite the scowls (he’s looking at you, Steven Adams) and shoves (hi there, Blake Griffin), he’s smiles and sincerity to his people.
I’ve known Zach since he was a rookie in Portland. His transition to the NBA wasn’t easy. He was young, impressionable and socially out of his element in Portland. Surrounded by questionable associates, he developed a less-than-sterling reputation. But Zach disproved F. Scott Fitzgerald’s belief about there being no second acts in American lives.
When Michael Heisley signed Zach to the Grizzlies, he made it clear that Zach’s tenure with the Grizzlies was related to his comportment. A handful of NBA Community Assist awards, thousands of dollars donated and smiles generated later the larger world has discovered what Zach Randolph has always been about – being a big-hearted and loyal man.
And if the world had more Vince Carters, we’d all be better off. Take away the dunking, the three-point shooting and the “rev it up” celebrations and you still have a man in full. Thoughtful, engaging and earnest in his desire to leave the world a better place, Vince Carter is a big believer in education. Just ask Grizzlies Prep and its students and staff.
Forget about basketball for a second. If Vince Carter had gone into business, he’d be the CEO by now. He’s a natural leader and loves being among people. After what would turn out to be his final Grizzlies exit interview, he came to the practice facility to meet the media. Unlike most players, Vince didn’t immediately depart after those responsibilities. Instead, he stayed and visited with a number of Grizzlies staffers who were just hanging out, drinking in the last of a season just ended. Five minutes, then ten minutes stretched to twenty or more. Vince stayed. He chatted, laughed and reminisced.
If all you know of Vince Carter is dunking, you only know maybe 10% of the man. Memphis was privileged to know 100%.
Grizzlies tangle with the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, July 11 in Game 3 of the Las Vegas Summer League at 3:30 p.m. CT. Catch all the action on NBATV.
Key Stat of the Night
- The Grizzlies outshot Sacramento from the charity stripe by a 71.9 percent to 57.1 percent margin.
Key Run of the Night
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On what he saw in the unit that started the second half…
Desperation. Just trying to get something going, trying to create a spark on our team, it worked. I was really just proud of the all-out raw competition that our team brought to the game. I don’t think anybody watching this game could say we were out-competed in the second half. I just thought we brought an incredible, ferocious effort in that second half. Obviously it wasn’t enough.
— Coach Fizdale
On the officiating…
It’s unfortunate that I have a guy like Mike Conley who in his whole career has zero technical fouls and just cannot seem to get the proper respect from the officials that he deserves. It was a poorly officiated basketball game. Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game had zero free throws yet somehow Kawhi Leonard had 19 free throws. First half, we shot 19 shots in the paint and we had six free throws. They shot 11 times in the paint and had 23 free throws. I’m not a numbers guy, but that doesn’t seem to add up. Overall, 35 times we shot the ball in the paint, we had 15 free throws in the game. They shot 18 times in the paint and had 32 free throws. Kawhi shot more free throws than our whole team. Explain it to me. We don’t get the respect these guys deserve because Mike Conley doesn’t go crazy, he has class, and he just plays the game. But I’m not going to let them treat us this way. I know Pop has pedigree and I’m a young rookie, but they’re not going to rook us. That’s unacceptable; that’s unprofessional. My guys dug into that game and earned the right to be in that game and they did not even give us a chance. Take that for data.
— Coach Fizdale
On cutting the 26-point deficit in the second half…
We just stepped up our level of intensity. I thought James Ennis was unbelievable for us for bringing his energy and his effort on both ends of the floor. I thought we were more in sync in the second half as far as just moving the ball being on the same page defensively. I think when you play a team like the Spurs, you have to communicate, you have to all be on the same page for 48 minutes and I think we did a better job of that in the second half. It gave us a chance to get ourselves back in the game. It gave us a chance to win the game.
— Vince Carter
On the team’s second half play…
That was the way that they were playing in the first half. We took it up another level in the second half defensively and physically, which is what we need to do from the beginning.
— Mike Conley
On if the team will take momentum into Game 3 from their second half play…
Yeah, I think that second half showed our team just how hard we need to play and what we need to see ourselves as. To beat a team like the Spurs, you have to play consistent basketball like that for four quarters, and we haven’t done that. We’ve played two good halves on the road. We need a full game, and that second half tonight was promising.
— Mike Conley
On the effect Coach Fizdale’s passion has on the team…
Coach believes in us. I think that’s why he was so upset tonight. He believes that this team can do a lot of great things. When we play as hard as we did tonight emotions are going to be high, and whether there’s questionable calls or not, he’s in the game. Mentally, he’s going to push us. He’s going to show how much he cares about winning whether it’s yelling at the ref or yelling at us on the bench. He gives us confidence in that way.
— Mike Conley
<!– Player Notes
- Kobi Simmions led the Grizzlies 4 assist along with 6 points and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes of play.
- Posting 14 points, Deyonta Davis led both sides on the boards.
- Jarell Martin score in double figures with 13 points and 6 rebounds