The Memphis Grizzlies‘ unlikely dominance lives on, even after a loss a couple of nights ago. The Grizz now move to 6-1 on the year without Ja Morant with their only loss coming against a Luka Doncic-led Dallas Mavericks team.
On Thursday, the Grizzlies knocked off a fully healthy Los Angeles Lakers team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook. Oh yeah, and they have Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. The Grizzlies did this without Morant. Oh, and Dillon Brooks didn’t play either — a guy who could be considered the second-best player on the team.
To even be competitive in a game like this is nothing short of a miracle. To actually win it is a testament to the resilience of Taylor Jenkins, the Grizzlies’ head coach.
Memphis Grizzlies HC Taylor Jenkins coaches his best basketball when his back is against the wall
The Grizzlies didn’t just win this game against the Los Angeles Lakers — they dominated one of the most talented teams in the entire league.
After a first quarter that saw Memphis go down, the team buckled down and played three quarters of perfect basketball. The second through fourth quarters would each see the Grizzlies outscore the Lakers.
Without Morant and Brooks, the Grizzlies were led by just who you’d expect — Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. JJJ scored 25 points on the night, leading all scorers, with Bane coming closely in second place with 23.
This Grizz team looked like a team, while the Los Angeles Lakers looked like a cluster of has-beens who don’t think that they have to earn anything. At the end of the day, it was clear that Memphis wanted to win this game more. And that’s exactly where Taylor Jenkins brings the most value as head coach.
He had the team ready to compete. Heck, for a while, a Grizz lineup of Desmond Bane, John Konchar, Jarrett Culver, Xavier Tillman, and Killian Tillie was dominating a Lakers lineup with Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony. I don’t know how you explain that other than elite preparation.
Memphis outworked LA in every aspect of the game, but it becomes especially prevalent when you look at the steal numbers between these two teams. The Grizzlies recorded 18 steals on the night while the Lakers mustered just eight against a Grizz team without its primary point guard.
Jenkins may not be the most consistent head coach in the league, but he knows how to create some exciting moments.