The Grizzlies punched back last night in a rather convincing Game 2 124-96 win over the Wolves in a game that was really only close for the first 12 minutes. A lead that reached as high as 32, things looked a lot more normal from the Memphis side of things. Ja was nails with an efficient 23/9/10
but the real story of this game in my opinion was how effective the depth of the Grizzlies was. They finished with four separate bench players in double figures, had a total of 7 as a team and it honestly didn't matter who Taylor Jenkins put in, they still found a way to be effective. For example, who saw 13 points on 6-7 shooting in 21 minutes from Xavier Tillman coming? Do you know how many times this season Tillman scored at least 13 points? Twice. He played in 53 games this year if you were wondering. I don't mean for this to come off that he sucks, he doesn't, my point is the Grizzlies bench is loaded with guys who are just solid basketball players who they trust to be thrown into a huge playoff game and produce. That's why the Grizzlies have been so dominant even without Ja in the lineup because there aren't too many unplayable guys on that roster.
If there's one takeaway from this Grizzlies breakout season, it has to be that over these last 2 or so years through fantastic drafting and team building, the Grizzlies are turning themselves not only into a contender, but a destination right before our eyes. You don't think players are going to want to play with Ja? That's what makes this all so fun to watch, a small market team is exploding on the scene and doesn't look to be going anywhere anytime soon. Not only is this great for the people of Memphis and Grizzlies fans everywhere, but it's also great for the NBA.
Part of making a franchise a destination is having an electric homecourt environment. As you can see in those videos above, that also looks to be taking place in Memphis. I've never been to FedExForum but I've watched enough Grizzlies games this year to know that building and crowd look awesome. You mix passionate fans with an extremely cool and elite talent like Morant with a team that beats the doors off everyone they play on a consistent basis, that's how you become a team that other NBA stars could very well want to join. The narrative will change from players on the Grizzlies needing to get out of that small market and join a large market team to which large market player is going to leave to join Memphis. We should all support that because that's what makes the league better.
It should surprise nobody that the Grizzlies were 30-11 at home this year, a record only rivaled by the Suns and Warriors who last time I checked have a pretty legit homecourt advantage. You could also make the case that the Wolves got a little lucky in Game 1
and all I know is the Wolves better protect their homecourt in Games 3 & 4 because I can't see the Grizzlies losing in that building too many more times in this series. If they are this fired up for a Game 2, just imagine what that arena will be like in any potential elimination game.