Playoffs 2021

Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins praises 'the ultimate competitor' Dillon Brooks after a stunning postseason debut

The Memphis Grizzlies pulled off a stunning upset in Game 1 against the Utah Jazz, fighting back from a 14-point deficit midway through the second quarter to pull out the win on the road.

The result gave Taylor Jenkins his first postseason win as an NBA coach, and leaves the Grizzlies very much in the 1 vs. 8 matchup.

Jenkins praised his squad's effort, particularly early in the game when their shots weren't falling.

"Really proud of the effort, I think we attacked the game with great aggression, especially in that first quarter," he said.

The standout contributor for Memphis was the Mississauga, Ontario native Dillon Brooks, with the 25-year-old tallying 31 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in his playoff debut.

"He's the ultimate competitor. I say that all the time," said Jenkins. "He loves these moments, he prepares for these moments mentally and physically. He's got the ultimate heart of a competitor and I'm so proud of him."

"I know he'll credit his teammates finding him and having confidence in him. To be able to have that offensive productivity given everything he gives on the defensive end is huge and I'm very, very proud of him."

TAKEAWAYS: Grizzlies hold off Jazz for upset win in Game 1

It was a stout defensive effort from the Grizzlies, holding Utah to just 12 3-point makes, a number that only occured 13 times across 72 regular season games.

"I don't think they're going to shoot 12-for-47 again from the 3-point line but I think we did a pretty good job getting out and contesting."

For Utah, it was a clunky performance from a team that has been outstandingly consistent all season long. The night got off to a bad start even prior to tip for the Jazz, with star guard Donovan Mitchell ruled out for Game 1 with his recovery from a high ankle sprain holding him back.

The news came as a shock, given Mitchell had told reporters he felt he was ready to play at shootaround just hours earlier.

"It was a big surprise. But I try to stay out of all this, it's just gonna give me a headache," Jazz big man Rudy Gobert said. "When you wake up from a nap and find out your star player isn't going to play, it throws you off a little bit."

Mitchell missed the final 16 games of the regular season with the injury, with the pressure now increasing for him to return in Game 2. Even withstanding the loss of Mitchell, Gobert lamented the team's effort.

"Turnovers. We gave them way too many easy points in transition," said Gobert. "When they have to play against our half court defense, it's a different story. We have to play through their physicality and do a better job holding onto the ball."

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