Grizzlies clinch play-in spot in nail biting win against Pelicans


New Orleans Pelicans forward Naji Marshall (8) struggles for control of the ball between Memphis Grizzlies forwards Jaren Jackson Jr., (13), Kyle Anderson (1), and center Xavier Tillman in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, May 10, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The saying goes, “a win is a win,” and that was definitely the case for the Grizzlies, as they fought hard and hung on late against the Pelicans winning, 115-110.

In the first half, everything was clicking for Memphis, and at one point, the Grizzlies led by as many as 14 points. But in the third quarter, the Grizzlies played careless, lackadaisical basketball and allowed the Pelicans to outscore them, 29-15.

“We definitely had our struggles tonight,” Jenkins said. “Especially in that third quarter, I thought we had tons of great looks. (It) was a tough time to kind of go ice cold from the field and the free throw line. They got on a run, and we weren’t prepared for that.”

Things were dire for the Grizzlies in the third quarter. After having a 71-point first half, the Grizzlies allowed a Pelicans team that was without its starting front court to open the quarter on a 21-3 run.

Additionally, in the second half, Memphis struggled at the free throw line. Memphis shot 5-15 from the charity strike.

Nevertheless, the Grizzlies turned things around in the fourth quarter and came away victorious. Overall, Memphis took care of business. The team had 66 points in the paint, 33 assists, and had a single-game franchise record of 19 blocks.

Jenkins said he is proud of the way his team played overall dispute the disastrous third quarter.

“I’m really proud of the guys. Again, this is hopefully what our DNA is showing, and we can keep building on that moving forward,” Jenkins said.

Just like New Orleans, all of the Grizzlies’ starters were in double-figures. Memphis was led by Dillon Brooks with 23 points. He shot 9-21 from the field.

Jonas Valančiūnas had 20 points on the night with 9-12 shooting from the field. Additionally, Valančiūnas is the first Grizzlies player ever to record 20 plus points, 10 plus rebounds, and 5 plus blocks while shooting 75% plus from the field, according to the Grizzlies PR.

With this game behind them, the Grizzlies clinched a spot in the play-in tournament. Now, the question is who and where will they play.

We will find out over their next four games.

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