MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Pick a sport, any sport and every coach has said it.
Always be ready and you don’t have to get ready and no one embraces that adage more than the Grizzlies’ Xavier Tillman.
Tuesday night, Tillman came up huge for the Grizz to help even up their playoff series with the Minnesota Timberwolves at a game apiece.
With four players on the bench with two fouls, in the first quarter, Tillman came off the bench and delivered. Remember, he didn’t play a single minute in the Grizzlies game one loss in this series but Tuesday night, Tillman was one of seven Grizzlies to finish in double figures. He went six of seven from the floor for 13 points and seven rebounds.
Part of a Grizzlies bench that outscored the Timberwolves reserves 60-43.
Tillman putting a wrap on a perfect night by wearing a sweatshirt to the postgame that read ‘Dreams take work.’
Ready when called upon.
“On the day-to-day, like in play groups and what not, we’re keeping it competitive. My lifts, my workouts and all, I have in mind if somebody goes down, foul trouble, injuries, anything like that, be ready to go,” Tillman said. “I’m watching the scout as if I’m playing, so it’s not that hard. So, coming into today, I mean, it was just the fruits of my labor, for sure.”
“Wild X appeared and got us going. He’s doing what he does. I’ve seen him put in a ton of work, so I wasn’t shocked by any of it,” said Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. “It helped everybody out. You’ve got to be ready when you’re called upon. Credit to him for being ready. He’s always ready. That definitely helped for sure.”
We’ll see if Tillman’s earned more time when this series shifts to Target Center Thursday night for game three with a 6:30 tip time from the Twin Cities.