The Memphis Grizzlies Overcome Heavy Hearts In Victory Over The Phoenix Suns

Anthony Sain

The Memphis Grizzlies were able to win their second-straight game with a 114-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns. In spite of the win, the Grizzlies, as well as the entire NBA family were overcast by the cloud of heaviness that came with the untimely death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

The Grizzlies and Suns both coordinated to honor Bryant by the Grizzlies taking a 24-second shot clock violation to start the game followed by the Suns taking an 8-second violation on their first possession.  Bryant, of course, wore the numbers 8 and 24 throughout his career.  There was also a 24 second moment of silence to start the game.

Grizz and Suns Honor Kobe Bryant To Start The Game with 24 & 8 Second Violations

“Gutsy win by our guys, but I’m not really in the mood to talk about the game as much," Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins. "Obviously, today is a very tough one for a lot of people—the NBA community, the basketball world, the Bryant family, the families of those who have lost family members in a horrific crash today. I said it before the game, it’s obviously something that you don’t wish you were talking about. Basketball-wise, to lose a legend, to lose an individual who made a profound impact on the court and off the court not only in the Los Angeles community but globally."

"Kobe stood for so many great things—greatness, competitiveness, drive, commitment, inspired generations," Jenkins would add. "So many of our young guys have been touched by what he paved the way for. There’s really no words. I’m fortunate to be up here today to be able to speak on behalf of our organizations, our players. Words only mean so much. It is going to be tough to overcome, but hopefully, everyone rallies around not just the families and the organizations, but everyone that has been touched by Kobe and his legacy. He’s carved an unbelievable path. As I said, I wish we weren’t talking about this today but we do have to find a way to celebrate. It’s very raw and emotional right now. Today’s game pales in comparison to the new reality we face without one of the best in the game.”

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Jenkins On The Tribute to Kobe Bryant During The First Two Possessions By Both Teams

“When the news broke, you’re shocked," said Jenkins. "You don’t know what words to say. My mind went immediately to those who had relationships with him, coached against him, coached with him, played with him, played against him. Finally, we got around to we have to be able to honor him at some point in our small part. A lot of credit goes to our head video guy, T.C. Swirsky. He talked about jersey 24. Can we somehow take a shot clock violation? I contacted Monty [Williams] and he was thinking the exact same thing. I went over there and talked about how we could, in our small part, pay tribute. Unbelievable by our fans. Obviously, our organization doing a moment of silence, but the fans to chant his name. The players on the court to recognize the impact that those two possessions could have to bring, hopefully, a celebration in a very, very tough time. As I said, I think other teams are doing the same thing. It’s our small part. Now it’s on us to continue to celebrate this beautiful legacy gone way too soon.”

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© Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Jaren Jackson Jr. finished the game with 20 points and 3 rebounds.  He was 3 of 6 from three-point range and battle with foul trouble in the second half.  Jackson would share his thoughts on the win and Kobe Bryant's legacy.

“To be honest, I didn’t feel like doing it to keep it 100," said Jackson on his mood about playing after hearing the news. "You’ve got to be a pro. That’s what 2-4 (Kobe Bryant) stood for and there’s no better way to go out there and honor him than to play pro basketball and do what you love, so that’s what we did today. Both teams.”

Jackson On What Kobe Bryant Means To Him

“Just for the game of basketball and in general and in life, he’s an icon and someone who we all saw growing up," said Jackson. "Through all his runs, through everything, he was able to teach and to bring back to the younger playing through camps and Nike, just being able to do a lot. His impact is something that you can’t really fathom because it’s just so great. It definitely hurts.”

Jackson On If Playing The Game Has Helped Him To Cope With The Loss

“No, it didn’t to be honest," Jackson said. "It still hasn’t helped me forget. You ever just know you have to do something so you just try to figure it out and you find a way? That’s what we call it every day. You find a way to go out there and put your best effort out there, and thank God we got a win today. Despite the circumstances, I’m glad we came together as a team and got the job done.”

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