The Memphis Grizzlies will look to return to the win column on Sunday night when it continues its season-high five-game road trip against the Phoenix Suns.
The Grizzlies squandered a 13-point lead in the third quarter and saw their franchise-record-tying 11-game winning streak end with a 122-121 setback at the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
“Disappointed because we didn’t play to our standard. I don’t care about a streak,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.
Jenkins didn’t stop there.
“They outcompeted us for 48 minutes. Plain and simple. ... Terrible effort,” he said.
Ja Morant said his team’s downfall was due in part to giving the Lakers additional looks at the basket.
“We gave up too many second-chance points. Just have to win the 50-50 plays,” Morant said. “We’ve got a lot of good (things going), but a lot of cleaning up to do.”
Morant collected 22 points and eight assists and Steven Adams added 16 points and 17 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. Brandon Clarke and Tyus Jones each added 20 points off the bench for Memphis, which made just 26 of 40 attempts from the free-throw line.
Clarke missed an attempt from the line with 1.2 seconds remaining that would’ve tied the game.
Now, it should be noted that the NBA released its Last Two Minute Reports on Saturday, and it revealed that Lakers guard Russell Westbrook committed a lane violation that was not called. In short, Clarke would have received another attempt to tie the game.
The Grizzlies also were on the wrong end of a non-call that saw Lakers guard Dennis Schroder rip the ball out of Desmond Bane’s hands before scoring the go-ahead basket with 7.1 seconds remaining.
“They ain’t call it, so it ain’t really nothing to talk about,” Bane said, per the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I thought (I was fouled). I just got to be stronger with the ball, though.”
The Grizzlies have won two of the previous three meetings against the Suns this season.
Morant, who boasts team-leading averages in points (27.2) and assists (7.9), scored 34 points in a 125-108 setback to Phoenix on December 27 before tallying 29 in a 136-106 victory on Monday.
Mikal Bridges scored 21 points in the most recent meeting with Memphis. He scored 22 points as the short-handed Suns recorded a 112-107 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
Josh Okogie collected 24 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks for Phoenix, which has answered a dismal 1-9 stretch by winning consecutive contests to begin its five-game homestand.
In addition to Devin Booker (groin), the Suns played without Chris Paul (hip), Cam Johnson (knee-injury management) and Deandre Ayton (non-COVID illness).
“Just woke up (Saturday), he wasn’t feeling well,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said of Ayton, who is averaging 17.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. “Probably somewhat of a buildup from that kind of stuff gets a hold of a guy. He was in bad shape this morning. He was trying his best to play.”