Ja Morant Mic'd Up
MEM@CHA: playlist 11.13.19
Postgame Report: Ja Morant lifts Grizzlies over Hornets with late-game heroics
The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Charlotte Hornets 119-117 following a game-winning shot from Ja Morant with 0.7 seconds remaining on the clock. The win snapped a five-game losing streak to the Hornets and marked the first time Memphis has won back-to-back games on the road since March 15-16, 2017.
The Grizzlies offense was clicking on all cylinders as they jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first 2:14 of the game following a three-pointer from Dillon Brooks. Both offenses would trade blows throughout the night, but the most important stretch for the Grizzlies came after a 10-0 run by the Hornets late in the third quarter. Following a P.J. Washington slam with 3:10 remaining in the period, the Grizzlies responded with 10 straight points of their own. Marko Guduric helped spark the Grizzlies’ surge as he scored 11 of his career-high 17 points in the third quarter.
The Grizzlies kept their foot on the gas, eventually going on a 30-9 run to take a 109-100 lead with 6:14 remaining in the game. The Hornets would not go down quietly as they ripped off a 12-2 run to tie the game at 117 following a three-pointer from Devonte’ Graham with 23.4 seconds remaining. However, Ja Morant would not let his first career double-double go to waste as he connected on an acrobatic, left-handed layup to give the Grizzlies the lead and ultimately the victory at 119-117. Morant finished the night with 23 points and a career-high 11 assists while shooting 10-of-15 from the floor. With tonight’s performance, Morant surpassed Mike Conley as the youngest player in franchise history to record a points-assist double-double.
The Grizzlies continued their impressive ball-movement, racking up 32 assists on the night. This was the first time the Grizzlies have tallied 30+ assists in three consecutive games since Dec. 9-14, 1997. Jonas Valanciunas picked up his seventh double-double of the season with 18 points, 13 rebounds and two assists in only 23 minutes. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 16 points and six rebounds while shooting 5-of-9 from the field. Tonight marked the first time Jackson has made 4+ three-pointers in consecutive games for the first time in his career. The Grizzlies would connect on a season-high 17 three pointers on 35 attempts (48.6 percent) as they won consecutive games for the first time this season to improve to 4-7.
Charlotte’s offense was equally as impressive, connecting on 16 of their 37 three-point attempts. Their 43.2 percent clip from behind the arc marks the highest percentage a Grizzlies opponent has shot from three-point range this season. The Hornets were paced by Terry Rozier, who tied a career-high with 33 points while shooting 7-of-12 from three-point range. Malik Monk led all bench scorers with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists as the Hornets fell to 4-7 on the season.
The Grizzlies now begin a four-game home stand as they face the Utah Jazz on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. CT inside FedExForum. Fans can watch the game on FOX Sports Southeast or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN.
On tonight’s game:What a game, what an ending. Two teams playing at a high level. Then it got to crunch-time in the fourth quarter. They were up big, we got up big, they end up tying it – credit to both teams for competing hard. I’m really proud of our guys over the last couple of games. [Tonight was] another game with 30-plus assists. Our defense wasn’t where it needed to be, we still gave up over 60 or so in the second half, but it trended down at least. Quarter to quarter. When we needed to get stops, changing coverages, guys constantly competing, come up with big rebounds and then executing on offense. A couple of plays we’ll go back and try to get better from at the end. But for the most part, how we responded and we’ll just continue to learn. Game to game when we’re in these moments, we’re down ten in the third quarter, we’re not going to crater. We’re going to keep playing, get better, keep our recipe of competing and being together. I’m proud of the guys tonight.
On what he said leading into the final sequence:Basically – well first off I wanted to get the ball in. They were playing so much pressure in the full court, so I wanted to advance it, maybe give us a different option to get the ball in. Get it at least to Ja’s [Morant] hands, take the last shot. You know a young team, making sure we execute down the stretch, take the last shot, try to put Ja in a position where he could attack one-on-one to score, maybe play make for someone else and then have Brandon Clarke go crash the offensive boards. So high-level play, great execution to leave just 0.7 [seconds] on the clock and then at the end to be really disciplined on activity on the ball and then we switched everything before the ball was inbounded, contested without a foul and come up with a miss at the end. Great job by our guys down the stretch.
On the third quarter and end of game:Well, starting with Marko [Guduric], but that entire second unit. We needed some life in that third quarter, especially down. We go on a run, obviously Marko scored, but his defensive activity and Kyle’s [Anderson] defensive activity, Solomon [Hill], Brandon [Clarke], Tyus [Jones] for a stretch too. Then we got down, we just ran. We got back to Grizzlies basketball. We’ve been talking about cycles. How can we let our defense ignite our offense and we benefitted from it. Changed some coverages, guys locked in, competed hard and then we just got east looks. We were trying to get stuff in transition, we were finding our teammates. And again, 32 assists, 30-plus [assists] for four games in a row, I’m very proud, it’s fun to watch that style of basketball for the Grizzlies.
On hitting the game winner:It definitely felt good... It was just, coach called the play, they switched and I just attacked.
On his dad’s reaction:It just shows you how much he loves the game and how excited he is [for me]. I looked at him at half court, but his seat was on the baseline. That’s just him. His personality, he’s always hyped up.
On seeing so many of his jerseys in the crowd:I definitely heard the support. I didn’t get to like look around and stuff, I was focused on the game. But to have them come out and show the support here two hours away – that’s love.
On the temptation to touch the last second shot for Ja Morant as the man crashing:Yeah, it was tough but I’ve got trust in Ja that when he’s shooting it’s probably going in. If it did bounce out for some reason, I was there but Ja is a great player and he made a great shot.
On if that final play went according to plan:Honestly, yeah. It was just a really good one on one drive just like coach drew up. I was there for the board just like coach drew up. It was the perfect play.
On his excitement for the future with the play of young guys like himself and Morant:We are just trying to grow every game. To see Ja already making shots that are that big is something that is really cool. I think that as rookies it's great that we are being put in that spot and being forced to take and make tough shots at the end of the game. It’s great for our careers going forward.
- Ja Morant recorded his first career double-double tonight with 23 points and 11 assists shooting 10-of-15 from the floor
- Jonas Valanciunas picked up his seventh double-double of the season with 18 points, 13 rebounds in only 23 minutes
- Jaren Jackson Jr. added 16 points and six rebounds while shooting 5-of-9 from the field marking 4+ three-pointers in consecutive games for the first time in his career
- Hornets guard Terry Rozier finished with a career-high tying 33 points, on 13-21 shooting.
- Malik Monk finished with a season-high 20 points, 5 assists and a career-high tying 8 rebounds.
- Cody Zeller recorded his 2,181th rebound tonight surpassing Alonzo Mourning as the 8th all-time rebounder in Hornets history.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2019-20 Season Tickets can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Single Game Tickets are available for purchase at the FedExForum Box Office, ticketmaster.com, online at grizzlies.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.