Three things to Know: Dillon Brooks’ block makes it 11 wins in a row for Grizzlies
Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.
1) Dillon Brooks’ block makes it 11 wins in a row for Grizzlies
Call it “Finals preview 2026.” Two of the best young teams in the NBA met Wednesday night, and they put on a show. This game was just fun.
But in the end, the Grizzlies’ league-best defense — and maybe the first game-winner of Steven Adams’ career — earned them the win. In a tight game late, the Grizzlies leaned into their defense, first with Jaren Jackson Jr. keeping it a one-point game.
Then with the game on the line, Ja Morant drove the lane, missed the shot, but drew so many defenders that Adams could get to the rim for the putback that gave the Grizzlies a one-point lead. There were still 16.6 seconds left and Cleveland had a chance to go for the win, but there was that Grizzlies defense again — Dillon Brooks had the game-saving block.
That makes it 11 straight wins for the Grizzlies, the longest streak in franchise history. They sit as the No. 2 seed in the West (half a game back of the Nuggets, who have won eight straight themselves).
Cleveland was in this game despite Donovan Mitchell being out (groin), and Caris LeVert got the start and finished with 23 points, while Darius Garland led the way with 24. However, the best news is that Isaac Okoro remained hot, shooting 6-of-6 on the night — 4-of-4 on 3-pointers with his remade jumper — and finished with 17. For all the talk of the Cavaliers needing to find a 3&D three to complete their starting five, if Okoro can keep shooting like this he could be the guy the Cavs need.
Desmond Bane finished with 25 for the Grizzlies, while Morant had 24.
2) Bradley Beal returns, Wizards knock off Knicks
The Washington Wizards continue to believe they have a playoff team if they can just get everyone healthy and on the court.
As evidence, we present Wednesday night: Bradley Beal returned from a five-game absence due to a strained hamstring (where the Wizards went 1-4), scored 18 and Washington beat a solid New York team in Madison Square Garden 116-105.
Washington led wire-to-wire in this one, which happens when a team knocks down seven 3-pointers in the first quarter to take the lead.
Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards with 27 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, while Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points and 11 boards. The other key to the Wizards’ win was their work on the glass — Washington grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter, five by Porzingis, which muted any Knicks comeback attempt.
Jalen Brunson had 32 points to lead the Knicks. The scary news was that Mitchell Robinson sprained his ankle early in this one — he played just nine minutes and could miss a little more time recovering from that.
3) LaMelo Ball leaves game with sprained ankle. Again.
The basketball gods have it in for LaMelo Ball this season. He missed the first 13 games of the season with a sprained ankle, came back for three games and sprained his ankle again stepping on the foot of a courtside fan while chasing a loose ball. That one cost him 11 more games.
Ball returned and was playing the best basketball of his career (averaging 23.5 points and 8.2 assists a game this season) when he suffered another sprained ankle and had to leave Wednesday’s game against the Rockets. The injury happened when teammate P.J. Washington landed on his ankle.
Ball said after the game that this one didn’t feel as bad as his previous sprains, which is good news, but he will miss some time. There was no official update.
With the Hornets in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes (the third-worst record in the NBA, and they are about to be sellers at the trade deadline), expect them to be very patient in bringing Ball back.
Even without him for much of the second half, the Hornets picked up the 122-117 win over the Rockets behind 26 from Terry Rozier. That was coach Steve Clifford’s 208th win as a Hornets head coach, the franchise’s all-time record.