MEMPHIS, Tenn — You could not have asked for more from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Today? Maybe a few less turnovers, and a win. But we are not talking about their 126-122 loss to the Trail Blazers in Saturday's play-in game.
We are talking about a team who was widely selected to finish among the bottom five squads in the league. That entered the bubble as the eighth seed, managed to reach the play-in game, and take last year's Western Conference runners-up and the hottest player in the NBA down to the final moments of a playoff-like contest.
Memphis limited Damian Lillard to 31 points. Yes, that is limiting him, considering he came in averaging 51.3 in his last three games.
Ja Morant scored a career-high (and game-high) 35 points, on what he later revealed was a broken thumb. In all, four Grizzlies scored 20 points or more, including Brandon Clarke--friendly reminder that Memphis someone score both Morant AND Clarke in the same draft.
Season One of Grizz Next Gen ended with a wildly entertaining finale, but it is just the first installment of a captivating spin-off show born from the ashes of Grit and Grind.
“How close I was to the playoffs," he said.
Morant and the Grizzlies are young and hungry. They played their way into the conversation in 2019-20, and they will provide plenty to talk about in the years ahead.