The full array of Ja Morant’s skill, talent, and dominance was on display Tuesday as the Memphis Grizzlies took back home-court advantage and tied their second-round series 1-1 with a 106-101 win over the Golden State Warriors.
The 47-point effort Morant put on the veteran Warriors feels as inevitable as Thanos collecting the infinity stones. Each bucket felt heavier and heavier as it fell through the nylon. The Murray State product made 15-31 field goal attempts, knocked down 5-12 triples, and hit 12-13 free throws. Can’t forget the eight rebounds, eight assists, and three steals he collected, either.
The newly crowned Most Improved Player award winner started the night off hot, scoring 21 points and five dimes in the first half, punctuating his Hulk-like evening with a hammer in transition. Morant’s athletic exploits are well-chronicled at this point, and when you’re that athletic and explosive, the main question fellow hoopers and media will ask is, where is the jumper?
The Warriors’ decision to make Morant beat them as a shooter didn’t pay off on Tuesday didn’t pay off as Morant trusted his jump shot when the Warriors sagged off him in the lane; the 2022 All-Star matched the sure-fire Splash Brothers in made three-pointers. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to bury 5-23 shots from beyond the arc against the Grizzlies’ lengthy and physical perimeter defense for the night.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) May 4, 2022
Speaking of Curry, Morant outdueled the former MVP once again in Game 2. Morant scored the final 15 points of the night, hitting a three, and walked Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins down the lane for two tough finishes on a pair of isolation possessions in the final two and a half minutes. Morant also sank a floater to give the Warriors a 104-101 lead and then the final free-throws of the night to seal the Grizzlies’ series-tying win.
“Definitely big time,” Morant said per ESPN. “I felt like this was a must-win game for us. For me, I was frustrated with myself missing that layup in Game 1.
— NBA (@NBA) May 4, 2022
The Grizzlies-Warriors series heads back to San Francisco for Game 3 on Thursday. After Game 1, Curry let Morant know this second-round matchup would be a battle but fun. As the Grizzlies celebrated their hard-fought win, Morant returned the favor as the two superstars walked past each other.
“I was able to return that message tonight — I am having a lot of fun.”
JA DROPS 4⃣7⃣
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 4, 2022
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