ATLANTA — On a scale of 1 to 10, Ja Morant shortly gave his evaluation of how his first three video games with the Memphis Grizzlies have gone this season.
“A ten,” he stated. “We received. That is what we intention for, that is what we play for.”
Morant had 30 factors and 11 assists as Memphis moved to 3-0 since returning with a 125-119 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday evening.
Desmond Bane had 37 factors for the Grizzlies, who had not received three straight video games all season, as they stumbled to a 6-19 begin as Morant served a 25-game suspension for brandishing a gun a number of instances on social media. Bane additionally had seven rebounds and 6 assists.
“There’s positively extra spice once you win video games,” Bane stated. “It is simply pure. We positively be ok with the place we are actually and there are extra gamers coming again to maintain it going.”
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) December 24, 2023
Trae Younger made historical past in defeat, ending with 30 factors and 13 assists. It was his seventh straight sport with at the very least 30 factors and 10 assists, tying Oscar Robertson for the longest streak in NBA historical past. Robertson set the document from December 1964 by means of January 1965. The Hawks are 3-4 in these seven video games.
Jaren Jackson Jr. had 20 factors on 8-for-10 taking pictures for Memphis.
The Grizzlies’ decisive level got here after the sport was tied at 106. Memphis scored 9 straight factors, with Morant capping the spurt with a floater over Younger within the lane with 3:37 to play. The Hawks by no means obtained nearer than 4 after that.
Morant’s offensive brilliance was on full show as he scored from the lane, the wings, three-point vary and from above the rim with two dunks. He observed teammates slicing when the Hawks despatched assist his approach and helped the Grizzlies shoot above 50% for the third time since returning. That is a primary this season for Memphis, which had 29 assists.
“I’ve type of been right here earlier than, so I do know what sort of crew we are able to have and what sort of noise we are able to make on this league,” Morant stated. “We did not begin the best way we wished, however we’re the place we should be. We’re hungry and folks doubt us. That is once we are at our greatest.”
The Grizzlies had seventeen second-chance factors within the first half, however solely 4 after halftime.
“We had been down 10 at halftime and I instructed the crew we guarded fairly effectively. It was simply the second probability factors,” coach Taylor Jenkins stated. “There was a greater effort there, a greater stage of physicality.”
The Hawks ended the primary half on a 9-3 run and took a 60-50 lead into halftime. Atlanta did not path for the ultimate 20:32 of the primary half after taking an 11-10 lead. Within the third quarter, nevertheless, the Grizzlies closed the hole with a 10-0 run to begin the interval.
Hawks beginning ahead De’Andre Hunter missed his second straight sport with knee soreness.
Grizzlies: Go to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday within the second sport of a four-game journey.
Hawks: Tuesday on the Chicago Bulls.