Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) celebrates a dunk in opposition to the Atlanta Hawks throughout the second half of an NBA basketball recreation, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Picture/Mike Stewart)

ATLANTA — On a scale of 1 to 10, Ja Morant was fast to offer his ranking of how his first three video games with the Memphis Grizzlies have gone this season.

“A ten,” he stated. “We received. That’s what we shoot for, that’s what we play for.”

Morant had 30 factors and 11 assists as Memphis moved to 3-0 since his return with a 125-119 victory 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 whereas stumbling to a 6-19 begin as Morant served a 25-game suspension for waving a gun a number of instances on social media. Bane additionally had seven rebounds and 6 assists.

“There’s positively extra spirit while you win video games,” Bane stated. “It’s simply pure. We’re positively feeling good about the place we’re at and we’ve bought extra gamers coming again to maintain it going.”

tonight’s @intlpaperco participant of the sport is @jamorant with 30 factors, 11 assists and a pair of shares.

— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) December 24, 2023

Trae Younger made historical past in defeat, ending with 30 factors and 13 assists. It was his seventh consecutive recreation with at the very least 30 factors and 10 assists, tying Oscar Robertson for the longest such streak in NBA historical past. Robertson set the document from December 1964 to January 1965. The Hawks are 3-4 in these seven video games.

Jaren Jackson Jr. had 20 factors on 8-for-10 capturing for Memphis.

The Grizzlies’ decisive run 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 bought nearer than 4 after that.

Morant’s offensive brilliance was on full show as he scored from the lane, the wings, 3-point vary and from above the rim with two dunks. He discovered teammates reducing when the Hawks despatched assist his approach and helped the Grizzlies shoot over 50% for the third time since he returned. That may be a first this season for Memphis, which had 29 assists.

“I’ve just about been right here, so I do know what kind of staff we are able to have and what kind of noise we are able to make on this league,” Morant stated. “We didn’t begin how we wished to, however we’re the place we have to be. We’re hungry and individuals are doubting us. That’s once we are at our greatest.”

The Grizzlies allowed 17 second-chance factors throughout the first half, however solely 4 after halftime.

“We have been down 10 at halftime and I informed the staff we’re guarding fairly effectively. It was simply the second-chance factors,” coach Taylor Jenkins stated. “There was a greater dedication there, a greater stage of physicality.”

The Hawks closed the primary half on a 9-3 burst to take a 60-50 lead into the break. Atlanta didn’t path for the ultimate 20:32 of the primary half after taking an 11-10 lead. Within the third quarter, nonetheless, the Grizzlies closed the hole with a 10-0 run to start out the interval.

Hawks beginning ahead De’Andre Hunter missed his second straight recreation with knee soreness.

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Grizzlies: Go to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday within the second recreation of a four-game journey.

Hawks: On the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.

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