Arriving late to a Memphis Grizzlies game wouldn’t be a wise move right now.
Whether you’re watching on TV or inside an arena, punctuality is key.
The Grizzlies scored 30-plus points in the first quarter for the ninth straight game Saturday at the Spectrum Center. The scoreout gave the Grizzlies a 21-point lead, but the Charlotte Hornets came back strong.
A 35-point lead was reduced to four in the final two minutes, but the Grizzlies wouldn’t let it close as they held on to defeat the Hornets 125-118.
The Grizzlies (40-18) have now beaten their last four opponents 152-85 in the first quarter. It was also their second straight win in a row. The Grizzlies now lead the NBA with nine wire-to-wire wins.
All the good work was almost overshadowed when Grizzlies All-Star guard Ja Morant left the game after suffering an ankle injury. Morant appeared to twist his ankle as he passed a cameraman with 2:13 left in the third quarter. He went to the locker room and came back with 8:47 left in the fourth.
Charlotte (29-29) was held to 15 percent shooting in the first quarter, but Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball took over in the fourth. Rozier had 35 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists while Ball finished with 25 points.
Morant and Desmond Bane led the Grizzlies with 26 and 25 points, respectively.
Memphis has now won five straight and eight of its last nine.
Here are some observations from the game:
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The Hornets and Grizzlies have a lot of similarities in their style of play. Not only are they both led by two of the most dynamic point guards in the game, but they’re near the top of the NBA in quick points and assists.
The Grizzlies are undefeated when they have 28 or more assists in a game. Saturday’s 31 total took them to 19-0. Morant and Kyle Anderson led the Grizzlies with six assists.
Steven Adams controls the tables
Steven Adams becomes more than just a guy who does the dirty work. He destroyed the Hornets on the boards and finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds. Seven of those rebounds were offensive. It was his second consecutive double-double and 10th overall.
It wasn’t just the showy numbers bouncing around. Adams added four assists and three blocks. Adams fouled out with 7:27 left in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies led 105-88. He finished a team record +19 in 16 minutes.
miss the gifts
The Hornets didn’t leave easily, but the Grizzlies did them a favor on free throws. Memphis shot 20 for 33. Free throw problems are nothing new. In the Grizzlies who have lost only their last nine games, they have shot 68% on free throws. The Grizzlies are 27th in the NBA in free throw percentage.
Desmond Bane finished with 25 points and made all seven of his free throws.
The Grizzlies have two more games before the All-Star break. They travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Tuesday (7 p.m. Bally Sports Southeast).
Contact Damichael Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @damichaelc