Jonas Valančiūnas Leads Memphis Past San Antonio with Monster Double-Double

Jonas Valančiūnas was an absolute beast on Wednesday night, powering the Memphis Grizzlies to a 100-96 win over the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs had no answer for the 7-footer from Lithuania, as he recorded a massive double-double with 23 points & 23 rebounds on 10/16 FG. He was all over the boards early, recording 12 points and 9 rebounds in the 1st quarter alone. His domination never stopped, imposing his will physically all game long, setting the tone for the Grizzlies. 
Dillon Brooks was also excellent for Memphis, recording 24 points & 7 rebounds, and with Ja Morant struggling (8/20 FG, 2/6 FT), the Grizzlies were in serious need of scoring on a night where it looked like neither team might break 100 points. Not only was Brooks excellent on offensive, but he was dynamite on the defensive end, at one point guarding DeMar DeRozan into seven straight misses from the field - his size and strength bothering the Spurs all night long. 

After being doubled in score after the 1st quarter 38-19, the Spurs strapped in on defense and held the Grizzlies to 18 points in the 2nd quarter and an even stingier 16 points in the 3rd. The Spurs were led by Dejounte Murray, who despite his poor shooting (4/17 FG) had a triple-double of 10 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists and was one of the only Spurs who looked to be fully engaged through the entire evening. Jakob Poeltl had a nice double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks - but when Poeltl is the 2nd best player on your team in an elimination game that's not a great sign. 

Spurs leading scorer DeRozan struggled all night with his shot, going 5/21 FG. While he continued to shoot from outside, he never gave up attacking the bucket and just as all great scorers do, he was able to get to the line 11 times, converting 10, ending up with 20 points. Unfortunately, no one else on the Spurs was able to raise their level, and they shot 35.1 % as a team. Rudy Gay injected some life into the Spurs late in the game with a few buckets, but in the end his high volume/low percentage game couldn't bring the Spurs back from the dead. 

The Spurs have now missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in 45 years, while Memphis now eagerly awaits their opponent for the next elimination game, facing off against either Los Angeles Lakers or Golden State Warriors. 

Photo Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports