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Report Card: Ja Morant returns, gets to business in win against Spurs

Ja Morant came back and served the Spurs in the Memphis Grizzlies’ 8th-straight win.

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San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

With superstar guard Ja Morant sidelined for the last games due to thigh soreness, it would’ve made sense to assume there would be a slight dropoff in the performance of the Memphis Grizzlies.

​That mindset proved to be inaccurate, as the Grizzlies maintained their winning ways without Morant, but his re-entrance into the starting lineup certainly provided Memphis with an extra boost that they needed.

​It seemed as if Ja never was injured, as if the time off rejuvenated and re-energized him. Just ask the Spurs, who were victims of yet another Morant masterpiece, as his 38-point performance elevated Memphis over the Spurs 135-129. Jaren Jackson Jr. served as the primary second option last night, serving up a 21-point, 12-rebound special with two blocks on the side.

​Overall, aside from an off night from the eccentric Dillon Brooks, it was a good night from the Grizzlies, who received quite a scare from the Spurs but managed to emerge from the game on the right side of things.

​Here’s some takeaways and grades from last night’s game.

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

​Jaren Jackson Jr.- 21 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks. 6-10 FG, 1-2 3PT, +/- -4

​Let’s start with the defensive menace himself, JJJ.

​I think that last night proved to a lot of people that when he’s locked in and not in foul trouble, he can be that force Memphis needs him to be.

​Look, the Spurs aren’t anything special, and I am not trying to make more out of a performance than necessary. However, I am a big fan of JJJ’s development, and his ability to get on the boards now makes him a true inside-outside threat.

​Another aspect of Trip’s game that has me excited was that he only needed 10 shots to reach 21 points. Getting to the free throw line further confirms that JJJ is utilizing his size and strength to do what he wants on the court. Those are all positives and things that I saw last night. Well done, JJJ.

Grade- A

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

​Ja Morant- 38 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 14-25 FG,. 3-5 3PT, +/-: -3

​What injury?

​Seriously, last night I couldn’t even tell Ja had been hurt.

​The aggression, the moves, the swagger. It was all there and on center stage last night.

​Last night, Ja played nearly flawless basketball, taking over the game with precision and timely made baskets. He made sure the Spurs didn’t rally their way back to victory, which was doable at one point during the contest.

​I could nitpick Morant by getting at those five turnovers, but Memphis will take the occasional error every once in a while in exchange for the big plays he produces. Memphis paid him to be a big-time player, and last night he closed the deal.

​Grade- A-

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

​Steven Adams, 11 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, 5-7 FG, +/- +14

​Steven Adams has proven himself to be an integral part of this Memphis team.

​I thought he was a replaceable piece, in which Memphis could get anyone to plug into his position. That assertion couldn’t be further from the truth. Last night, Adams patrolled the glass, grabbing every basketball in sight. What impressed me is that he faced off against another solid rebounding center in SA’s Jakob Poetl, and it wasn’t even close to me.

​Adams is the difference maker that Memphis needs, and what’s even better is that he doesn’t need the basketball to thrive. He knows his role, and has even improved as a playmaking post player of sorts. Solid all around game from the big New Zealander.

(Site Manager note: My apologies for missing this editing note. I’m sorry if the misunderstanding didn’t sit well with anyone).

Grade- B+

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