Ja Morant was absolutely unbelievable, finishing with a career-high 52 points as the Memphis Grizzlies got their third victory against a San Antonio Spurs team that is much better than their record shows. Morant had the greatest individual scoring performance in Grizzlies history for the second game in a row, breaking his own franchise record for points in a game.
The two young teams played at a pace that made the days of Tim Duncan and Zach Randolph alternating post-ups feel like a distant memory. The Spurs started the game on fire from the 3-point line hitting three of their six attempts from deep, opening up an early 6 point lead. However, Ja Morant quickly turned the game around with a personal 7-0 run highlighted by a three-pointer from near the logo. The Grizzlies dominated offensively, led by Morant and De’Anthony Melton, shooting 74% from the floor in the 1st quarter and led by eight.
The second quarter was more of the same high-paced, high-flying play as both teams went back and forth. Most of the quarter was pretty even until the Grizzlies went on a run near the halfway point. Then, Ja Morant sent FedExForum into a frenzy with two plays that are impossible to put into words.
First, Morant put Jakob Poetl on a poster that will be on the walls of children nationwide and my pick for dunk of the year.
Next, Steven Adams made a pass that even NFL quarterbacks would be impressed with as he hit Morant for this beautiful buzzer-beater, giving the Grizzlies an 11 point lead at the half.
Morant continued his dominance in the 2nd half, however, similarly to how they have played all season, the gritty Spurs would not go away. The Spurs kept the game competitive led by Lonnie Walker (22 points) and Dejounte Murray (21 points and 8 assists). They opened the 2nd half on a 10-2 run and ensured the Grizzlies could not take their foot off the gas. In the end, it was not enough as the Grizzlies won 118-105.
Morant was Dazzling
It is impossible to put the box office potential of Ja Morant into words. Morant had more highlights tonight than many players get in their entire career getting to the rim at will and often finishing over multiple defenders. Morant also scored from deep, hitting all four of his attempts from three before leaving the game to a standing ovation and finished with 52 points and seven rebounds on 22-30 shooting.
Grizzlies Bench Unit
The Grizzlies bench continued their dominance as they scored 48 points, led by 15 points from De’Anthony Melton and 13 from Tyus Jones. On a night where Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Ziaire Williams all struggled offensively, the bench stepped up on both ends of the floor. Hopefully, the other starters can get back on track soon, but having that type of depth to fall back on is incredible.
The Grizzlies finish the month of February with an 8-2 record as they look ahead to a matchup with the surging Boston Celtics Thursday night on TNT.