Last night is gonna be remembered for quite a while:
EVERY ANGLE OF JA MORANT'S UNBELIEVABLE DUNK OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE ️ pic.twitter.com/8u1j6ZNH3F— NBA (@NBA) January 15, 2023
And there are multiple reasons why:
THIS JA MORANT BLOCK pic.twitter.com/4S3uBGkPFF— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) January 15, 2023
In fact, let’s make sure it can all be found in one place:
23 PTS— NBA (@NBA) January 15, 2023
9th straight Grizzlies W
Dunk of the year candidate ...Ja Morant's night in Indy! pic.twitter.com/FsXrmzVFCb
In case you have not figured it out just yet, Ja Morant had a pretty decent night in the Hoosier state on Saturday. Many folks remember his block in Los Angeles or his dunk on Jakob Poeltl from last season. Well Morant made sure to give everyone a double dose of deja vu as he delivered what could be the block and dunk of the year on the same night in the Grizzlies 130-112 win over the Pacers.
Overall, Morant had 23 points and 10 assists in 25 minutes along with multiple, magnificent moments. However, several other Grizzlies had quite the night in earning the team’s ninth win in a row. Let’s take a look at who else played quite well on Saturday.
Desmond Bane - A+
Nothing beats home cooking.
And that is exactly what Desmond Bane was doing as he returned to his home state last night. The Richmond, Indiana native produced 25 points, five threes, eight rebounds, three assists and was a +24 on the evening. While Bane struggled a bit in his return from injury over the holidays, he has clearly rounded into form. He is 16-23 from three over his past four games, and has scored 15 or more points in seven straight games. Bane is once again the Grizzlies second best scoring option with one of the best shooting touches in the league.
And yet, it is not just his signature shot that is producing clear value. He also contributing more freuqently outside of scoring, with five or more rebounds in six of his past seven games and three or more assists in each of his last five matchups. The big key is that is putting together stretches of All-Star level play once again in 2023.
Ziaire Williams- A
It is great to see Ziaire Williams back and thriving on the hardwood.
When Williams returned from injury in December, it took several games for him just to get his footing and contributed value in small doses (as expected coming off a key injury). Then, against Orlando, Williams finally put together a notable offensive performance and has not looked back. Over his past five games, Williams is 23-42 from the field, including 13 points on 6-9 shooting last night.
Williams got the start with Dillon Brooks out, showing that the Grizzlies faith in Williams has remained steady. Though his three point shooting still is coming together, Williams is showing the ability to be a reliable scorer once again. With Brandon Clarke now back, The ability for Memphis to feature Tyus Jones, Santi Aldama, Clarke, and Williams off the bench allows for Taylor Jenkins and his staff to have a lot of versatility and creativity when it comes to lineup construction.
Speaking of Aldama....
Santi Aldama - A
Santi Aldama is turning into a bit of a Swiss army knife of benefits for the Grizzlies off the bench. Aldama had 17 points, four boards, two steals, a three and an assist against the Pacers. He now has scored 10+ points in three of his past four games after scoring in double digits in only one of his previous seven contests.
He also continues to show his defensive playmaking ability is a true asset, as he had multiple steals for the second time in his past three games. With Clarke missing time recently, Aldama stepped right in to once again prove that Memphis has one of the deepest and most talent front courts in the league. This arguably was Aldama’s best game as a Grizzlies reserve so far this season.