NBA Daily Rundown: Efficient Grizzlies Thrash Leonard and Clippers

NBA Daily Rundown: Efficient Grizzlies Thrash Leonard and Clippers

Crowder leads Grizz’ beatdown of Clippers

Behind a very balanced and efficient team offense, the Memphis Grizzlies carved a shocking 140-114 beatdown of Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers. Veteran defensive ace Jae Crowder filled up the stat sheets in what could be the most productive game of his career. Crowder put up 27 points on six three-pointers, and did everything as he tallied 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Jaren Jackson Jr chipped in 24 points and 4 blocks, while backcourt partners Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks contributed 22 markers apiece.

It was a solid game for the Grizzlies right from the start of the ballgame. They put up 40 points in the first quarter, then followed it up with a 39-point showing in the third period. The Grizzlies were also greatly efficient in their offense. They only turned the ball over nine times, shot a 51% clip from the field, including 46% from beyond the arc and 86% from the free throw line. Most importantly, they willingly shared the ball as they normed 36 assists compared to the Clippers’ total of only 20.

Grizzlies first-year head coach Taylor Jenkins credited his team’s great start to the game that set the tone throughout the night, as per Beth Harris of The Associated Press.

“We started off great, got stops when we needed them and nearly played a complete 48 minutes. We're going to enjoy this one. The guys were (mad) how we let a big lead get away in Sacramento the other night and ended up losing that game.”

Montrezl Harrell, the Clippers combo big man who topscored for them with 28 points and 9 boards, emphasized that they are still not a great team right now, as per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

"We're not a great team. That's, I think, one thing that you all need to get out your minds. We're not a great team. We just [came] together this year. We have two players that haven't been a part of this team. We have a player who won an NBA championship with a whole 'nother team last year.”

Leonard also chipped in 24 points, 8 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals for the Clippers, while reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams amassed 24 points and 7 assists. Highly-expected by many to top the Western Conference this season, the Clippers have now dipped to the fourth spot in the conference with a 26-12 record.

While this embarrassing loss is indeed frustrating, Kawhi is still confident that they will get better as the season approaches its halfway point.

"We've had a lot of wake-up calls [this season]. I feel like it's the middle of the season  and some of the mistakes that we are making, we shouldn't be making at this time.
We going to keep getting better. I feel like guys want to win and get better. I feel like we are still going to get better."

Leonard, Harrell and the Clippers will have the opportunity to bounce back right away as they face the New York Knicks in the second night of their back-to-back schedule on Sunday.

Hornets’ backcourt gunners pushes team to victory in Dallas

The Charlotte Hornets again banked on their two backcourt stars as they hacked out a close-call 123-120 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks. Terry Rozier topscored for the Hornets with 29 points and 8 assists, while backcourt partner Devonte’ Graham amassed a double-double performance of 27 points and 13 assists. All of the Hornets’ five starters contributed double-digit points in the win. Rookie forward PJ Washington had 19 markers, while Miles Bridges and Bismack Biyombo chipped in 11 points apiece.

Charlotte started strong in this game as they put up an early 12-point lead after the opening period. However, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks would trigger a comeback in the third quarter as they entered the final period with a four-point lead. Still, the Hornets maintained their composure in the end as Rozier and Washington hit crucial shots in the overtime period.

Hornets head coach James Borrego deflected the praise to his players and how they responded after the Mavericks went on a fiery comeback in the second half, as per Schuyler Dixon of The Associated Press.

''I give our group a lot of credit to come out and get up whatever it was, double digits early, play with poise, play with urgency, play with force. And then to lose that lead, how do we respond? That's all we talked about in the timeout, how are we going to respond?''

Doncic impressed yet again as he led his squad with a game-high 39 points, on top of 12 boards and 10 assists. Maxi Kleber came off the bench to fire six treys on his way to 24 markers, while swingman Dorian Finney-Smith contributed 15 points and 8 rebounds in the loss.

Despite his brilliant showing, Doncic admitted that he didn’t make the right decisions when it mattered the most, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

“I didn’t make great decisions. Terrible decisions. I’ve got to do better. . . We could have won it, but I made terrible decisions.”

However, a sub-plot emerged after the game. Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle criticized how the officials are handling how opponents have been very physical on Doncic. Carlisle emphasized that his sophomore playmaker is always on the wrong end of a lot of non-calls from the referees.

“Look, he’s a great player, so people are going to go after him. It doesn’t mean that a lot of the stuff is right or in the spirit of what the game should look like.
It’s true, I’m not going to lie, but, you know, it’s just basketball. It’s a physical game.  If the refs see it, they’re going to call it. If they don’t see it, they’re not going to call it. But I’ve just got to keep going.”

The loss drops Dallas to a 22-13 record, good for the sixth seed in the West. They will have a night to regroup as they host Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

Jazz cruises to 5thconsecutive win

The Utah Jazz started and finished strong as they defeated the Orlando Magic, 109-96. Donovan Mitchell led the charge for the Jazz as he finished with a game-high 32 points and 6 assists. Georges Niang came off the bench to hit five triples, while Bojan Bogdanovic and Emmanuel Mudiay chipped in 14 and 12 markers, respectively. Defensive center Rudy Gobert failed to crack double-digits in scoring with only 8 points, but he imposed his presence down low as he grabbed 17 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.

Mitchell, who starred in this 5th straight victory for Utah, credited Niang and his supporting cast for showing out big time in this road game, as per Benyam Kidane of

"Georges Niang man, he's come a long way in his career, being doubted and what not,I'm really happy for him.
Nights like this just show valuable he is to our team. Not just Georges, but everybody,Emmanuel coming down running in transition, you got Joe knocking down what he does, Rudy running the lane, I think he had 17 or 18 boards, those are big, those are key and even Rayjon [Tucker] coming in, I think it's his second time in.”

High-leaping scoring forward Terrence Ross topscored for the Magic with 24 points off the bench, while All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic put up a double-double outing of 22 points, 13 boards and 2 blocks. Now sporting a 16-20 win-loss card, the Magic is still in the top half of the Eastern Conference after this loss. They will go up against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, then end their current four-game home stand against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

Other games:

Toronto Raptors defeated the Brooklyn Nets, 121-102

Indiana Pacers lost to the Atlanta Hawks, 111-116

Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 121-106

Boston Celtics won against the Chicago Bulls, 111-104

Denver Nuggets fell to the Washington Wizards, 114-128

Detroit Pistons beat the Golden State Warriors, 111-104

San Antonio Spurs lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-127

New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Sacramento Kings, 117-115

A sports aficionado ever since he first held a basketball, Paul was a student athlete in school and college. Today, he teaches English in university by day and a freelance sportswriter by night.

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