Memphis Grizzlies: Jonas Valanciunas flirted with a 30-20 stat line in win vs. Wizards

Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /
Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Jonas Valanciunas was never supposed to be a star for the Memphis Grizzlies. He’s a reliable, large guy who can hold down the paint while Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. can get to work.

And in that facet of the game, he has done a great job. On a team that is lacking in size, he has given this team what they need to stay afloat.

But against the Washington Wizards, he did more than just keep this team afloat. He played one of the best games that we’ve seen from a Memphis Grizzlies player this year.

Scratch that.

JV’s game was one of the best games in the NBA from a big man this entire season. Somehow he continued to score points and pull in rebounds all game and barely anybody noticed. It wasn’t until a double technical situation with Mo Wagner fire him up that we realized the type of game he was having.

The Memphis Grizzlies were unstoppable with Jonas Valanciunas leading the charge

He would finish the contest with 29 points and 20 rebounds.

Yes, you read that right. The Grizzlies dominated a game against the Washington Wizards and Jonas Valanciunas ran the show.

While Robin Lopez was picking on Xavier Tillman down low, Jonas Valanciunas was absolutely eating the big men from D.C. alive. It seemed like every time the Wizards would narrow the gap, Valanciunas would lead an emotionally driven run and keep the Grizz on top.

But his stats alone don’t tell the entire story. In fact, it was his energy that got the Grizzlies going in this game and it was that same energy that closed out the game.

This was highlighted in the aforementioned scuffle between JV and Wagner. In a game that was scrappy the entire time, Valanciunas didn’t back down. Instead, he buckled down and kicked it into overdrive.

He responded by dunking on Wagner and following it with an and-1 on the following possession. His celebration alone was enough to get everybody on the team hyped up. After this, the team wouldn’t look back, regaining the lead that they had lost and holding into it for the remainder of the game.

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I don’t want to speak too soon, but the Grizzlies might have found a diamond in the rough with Jonas Valanciunas. If he continues to play like this, it’ll be hard for anybody to compete with Memphis.