Memphis’ Kenneth Lofton Jr. had 42 points and 14 rebounds in his first NBA start, the first 40/10 game since starts became tracked in 1970-71

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Kenneth Lofton Jr. pic

Yesterday, all 30 NBA teams played their final regular-season games and the playoffs begin this week. Most teams sat their stars yesterday as standings in the East and West were mostly locked up. That was true for the Memphis Grizzlies who are the #2 seed in the West. They used a six-man rotation vs the Thunder, and rookie Kenneth Lofton Jr. took full advantage of his playing time. He had 42 points and 14 rebounds in Memphis’ 115-100 loss in a game that did not matter in the standings for the Grizzlies. 

Lofton Jr. went undrafted out of Louisiana Tech and had been playing off a two-way contract for most of the season. The Grizzlies rewarded him with a standard NBA contract over the weekend and also his first start as a pro last night. His 42 points and 14 rebounds led the team last night, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Thunder.

Locked into the #2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, Tennessee Sports Betting sites have the Grizzlies at (+2200) to win the Finals this season.

Kenneth Lofton Jr. dropped 42 points and 14 rebounds in his first career start

NBA rules state that a team must have eight active players available for each game. The Grizzlies used a six-man rotation last night but deemed Luke Kennard and Xavier Tillman active even though they did not play. Seizing the moment in his first NBA start last night was rookie Kenneth Lofton Jr.

He’s the first player to record 40+ points and 10+ rebounds in their first career starts. That stat started being tracked in 1970-71. Lofton Jr. had 42 points and 14 rebounds vs the Thunder. The 20-year-old went 17-25 from the field and 8-12 from the free-throw line.

Lofton Jr. has seen most of his playing time this season within the past two months. Injuries to Brandon Clarke and Steven Adams make Lofton Jr. somewhat important this late in the season. He’s insurance in case the Grizzlies lose more of their frontcourt depth. The Grizzlies still await to see who they will play in the opening round of the playoffs. The seventh seed still needs to be determined in the play-in tournament.