In the postgame interview, Ja Morant said “when in doubt, call 12.” Sure enough, he answered the call.
The Memphis Grizzlies had no timeouts and had to go the whole length of the floor and get a shot down in under 10 seconds.
Ja Morant was the go-to here.
He had no easy task in front of him, as Jimmy Butler — one of the league’s best two-way players and a crunch-time giant in his own right — was between him, the bucket, and the game.
He eased into the play going in. Then once, he gained a bit of separation with the body around half-court and turned on the jets to get a left-handed layup.
Hammer. Nail. Coffin.
There may be growing pains with Ja Morant, and his exceptional rookie campaign and his fast start to his sophomore one may masquerade that in a sense. He’s still a 21 year old point guard, and he’s also learning to how to navigate superstar coverages each and every night. It’s not easy. Despite the growing pains, there’s one thing that was made clear last night.
Ja Morant is built for the moment. There’s no question about it.
We’ve seen it going back to his third game of his NBA career, with two-way clutch heroics against Kyrie Irving. We saw it in Charlotte as well. Before Jrue Holiday’s game-winner a few weeks ago, Morant hit an insanely difficult layup over Giannis Antetokounmpo in the closing seconds.
Ja Morant is fearless, as he’s not afraid of the moment or of whoever’s on the other side.
And that’s important to keep in mind going forward. When games get tighter and more crucial, and when you’re facing the toughest looks in these closing moments, you need a go-to player that’s willing — and able — to hit the shots that matter most.
The Memphis Grizzlies have their guy with Ja Morant.