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Report Card: Morant, Bane explode for 76 combined in a bounce-back win

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant were the best duo on the court in a game against Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

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Brooklyn Nets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss on the road against the Mavericks, the Memphis Grizzlies returned him to face the Brooklyn Nets. For the first time this season, Dillon Brooks was back in the starting lineup after missing the first three games with left thigh soreness.

The Grizzlies started strong and were leading by five at the end of the period. However, The Nets would make a run, led by Kevin Durant, who finished the half with 18 points and led by five going into halftime. Ja Morant led all scorers at halftime with 24 and 5 assists in what would be another big scoring night for him.

The Grizzlies came out in the second half and went on a 23-5 run led by Desmond Bane, who sat most of the first in foul trouble. He led the Grizzlies to a 45-point 3rd quarter, the third-highest in franchise history.

Durant and Irving did not make it easy, scoring 37 points each, but the Grizzlies got the 134-124 win at home. Morant and Bane combined for 76 points, 32 from Bane in the second half, as the Grizzlies improved to 3-1 on the season. Now for the grades.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Desmond Bane-A+: 38 Points (Career-High), 12-22 FG, 8-11 3-PT, 7 Assists, 1 Rebound, 1 Steal, 1 Block

The beginning of the season had been rough for Desmond Bane, and his night did not get off to a great start. He had three fouls and just 6 points going into the half, as the Grizzlies trailed by 3. However, Bane was nearly unstoppable in the second half and willed the Grizzlies to a win. His jumper looked like it was back to normal, and he showed off some of his improved dribble drive game with some excellent finishes at the rim. He also tied his career high in assists with seven as his playmaking continues to improve.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ja Morant- A+: 38 Points, 12-22 FG, 4-6 3-PT, 8-11 FT, 8 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 2 Steals

It isn’t easy to describe just how good Ja Morant has been for the Memphis Grizzlies, but let’s start with spectacular. He was unstoppable in the first half and any shot he wanted on the offensive end of the floor. He also continued to show off the latest addition to his game, an improved three-ball. After shooting 4-6 from behind the arc against the Nets, Morant is now 12-20 (60%) on the season. Morant won’t hit that percentage for the season, but a jump from 34% last season to 37-40% this year does not seem out of the question. He also showed his improved defense, getting two steals and turning them into opportunities on the other end.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Adams- A: 9 Points, 3-5 FG, 13 Rebounds (4 Offensive), 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block

A lot of what Steven Adams does on the court does not show up in the stat sheet, but that was not the case tonight. Adams corraled 13 rebounds and also drew a large number of loose ball fouls against the Nets. Nic Claxton and Da’Ron Sharpe just could not contend with Adams’s physicality on the interior and it caused both of them to be in foul trouble. His activity on the boards was one of the main reasons the Grizzlies ended up winning the game.

NBA: New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Santi Aldama- A: 17 Points, 6-8 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 4 Rebounds, 1 Steal, 1 Block

Aldama continues to show that he is capable enough to get the Grizzlies through the early stretch of the season. He scored at all three levels tonight and even hit a turnaround jumper over Irving that was beautiful to watch. Defensively he is also improving, as he had one really impressive block and altered a lot of shots on that end as well. Seeing him perform so well is exciting because he will be asked to lead the bench unit once Jaren Jackson Jr. returns; his time in the starting five will only boost his confidence when that day comes.

Grizzlies offense- A+:

On the offensive side of the floor, this is the best all-around performance the Grizzlies have had this season. The Grizzlies shot 50% from the field and 47% from three on their way to scoring 134 points in the win. They also scored 58 points in the paint, a category in which they led the entire NBA last season. Primarily because of heroics from Bane and Morant, the Grizzlies’ offense was firing on all cylinders for the first time this season.

Overall Grade: A

After some shaky performances to start the season, the Memphis Grizzlies finally looked like the team that won 56 games last year. In terms of what we witnessed from both teams, this was one of the best head-to-head duo battles in NBA history. The last time 2 players from each team (Morant, Bane, Durant, and Irving) finished with 35 or more points was in 1983, and it had never happened in a game that did not have overtime. The Grizzlies have the firepower to win when two of the most prolific scorers in the league are on fire, which is a great omen for the rest of the season.

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