Postgame Report: Morant’s 47 points lift Grizzlies over Warriors to even series
Key Stat of the Night
- The Grizzlies held the Warriors to just 7-for-38 (18%) shooting from 3-point range. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 5-for-23 shooting (22%) from deep.
Key Run of the Night
- Ja Morant scored Memphis’ final 15 points over the final 4:16 while the Grizzlies limited the Warriors to just six points in that span.
The Memphis Grizzlies used Ja Morant’s 47 points to rally past the Golden State Warriors 106-101 and even the second round series on Tuesday night.
Morant single-handedly outscored the Warriors 15-6 in the final 4:16 of the game on his way to a tying his own franchise postseason record with 47 points on 15-for-31 shooting. Morant connected on five 3-pointers to go with eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
Ziaire Williams scored 14 points with five rebounds on 4-for-8 shooting while supplying tight defense in the final minutes. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 12 points with seven rebounds while Brandon Clarke tallied 10 points with three rebounds.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists while Jordan Poole notched 20 points, five assists and three rebounds.
The Grizzlies took the early lead behind Morant’s 14 first quarter points on 4-for-7 shooting. Jackson Jr. notched 10 points and three rebounds as the Grizzlies led 33-25 after 12 minutes of play.
Memphis held off the Warriors in the second quarter, holding on to a 56-51 lead at halftime. Morant led the Grizzlies with 23 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field to go with five assists and four rebounds in the half. Curry scored 15 points with five rebounds to lead the Warriors.
The Warriors finished the third quarter on a 13-3 run to bring the score even at 77-77 with one quarter remaining, but the fourth quarter belonged to Morant as he exploded for 18 points in the final period.
Morant is the third player in NBA history to have multiple 45-point postseason performances before turning 23 years old, joining LeBron James and Kobe Bryant (ESPN).
The Grizzlies will look to take the series lead over the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
On the energy and the effort of the game:Yeah, it was again there tonight for 48 minutes. I said it after Game 1, and that’s why I was encouraged despite the loss, but tonight the energy and the effort was there at a super high level yet again. We’re playing an extremely high level right now. It’s a lot of energy involved offensively, but especially defensively. We just find a way to come up with a way to come up with the plays down the stretch. Obviously we’ve got to clean up the rebounding for sure, but our next play mentality was a lot better than the first game, giving up a bunch of fast break points, only 10 this game, but second chance points is hurting us. But, at the end of the day we’re flying around. They make it tough on us. We’re battling for 48 minutes. Really impressive win by our guys.
On Ja Morant in the final four minutes of the game:I thought he was actually significantly better at the end. Execution, defensive effort was unbelievable. Come up with some rebounds, rotations. He set a tone for us in the fourth quarter late. We were trying to play fast, but when we had to execute in the halfcourt, he did a great job getting the play calls from the sideline, executing with his teammates, getting to his spots on the floor to come up with big shots, and also trusting the pass. He did a beautiful job late. He kicks that ball out to Ziaire (Williams), who, I mean so much credit to Ziaire. Obviously been off for a minute here. Comes in, has a phenomenal game. But, the trust that he was having with his teammates, while still going out and scoring 47 points. I mean, near triple-double. Super impressed by what Ja did tonight on both ends.
On slowing down Golden State:It really just comes down to the energy and the effort. I mean, not giving up early threes in transition is huge. Obviously cleaning up the boards. They sprayed a couple of threes on us after that. We’ve got to clean that up for sure. We’ve just got to make them work and take tough shots, and hopefully when we rotate around and someone happens to get open, they do an unbelievable job at moving the ball. You can’t stop them every possession. You hope you just get out just late enough to put some duress on him to make it a contested shot, and if they’re open, sometimes you get a little lucky. But, at the end of the day, we’re setting the tone early in possessions. The effort flying around has been huge. We’ve just got to make it tough on them every possession.
On what Ja Morant’s performance in the fourth quarter means emotionally for the team:It’s huge, obviously. Leader of our team. The tone that he sets for us with the energy that he plays with. It’s not just the place, it’s the force that he plays with, the spirit that he plays with. It’s infectious. I’ve said it since day one, he’s going to be built for moments like this, and this is super impressive. You never know. Ball’s not always going to bounce your way. He won us a huge game in the previous series. Fourth quarter, big-time bucket. Had another great game last game. Ball didn’t bounce on the last play. But then tonight, just when we needed buckets down the stretch after getting really good stops he came through, and that’s what you need. This is huge growth for him, growth for the team. But you know, he’s built for these moments. He’s only going to get better from them.
On adjusting the game plan after losing Dillon Brooks:Obviously tough to lose (Brooks). But as we’ve done all season long, next man up. And, that guy stepped up. (De’Anthony Melton) coming in the first half, Ziaire (Williams) performance throughout the game, we had a lot of different things. Obviously, our lineups were changing up, but any time someone stepped on the floor, whether it was four minutes, five minutes, 20 minutes, whatever it is, our guys were competing their tails off. Just really impressed. Early in the game, we didn’t try to get shook. We knew we were going to have (Brooks’) back, he was going to have ours, and for our guys to come out there and just battle for 48 minutes was super impressive.
On Ziaire Williams’ role:We say for all of our guys, but especially for a rookie, this is the best player development you can get. You get it throughout the season. Obviously there’s the off season down the road, but to get these meaningful game reps, game plan discipline habits, what it takes to win, physicality, making winning plays, just staying ready to come out there and contribute. Obviously, he had a great scoring night, but his defense with his length, his versatility, we started switching his guard on the ball, off the ball. Just really impressed with his growth. I mean, each one of our guys is getting more player development. That’s what it is for us to get at this stage of the season, but you can’t take it for granted. You got to keep working. Tomorrow’s the day to get better, the next to get better, and then you know, we don’t play until Saturday. So, how are each of our guys going to watch the film, take care of their bodies, continue to work on their game. Know that we’ve just got to keep taking it up a notch, and that’s what this time of year brings for everybody.
On Ja Morant’s eye:I think it was on a finish or something. I think there may just have been an inadvertent poke or slap or something like that, that I think was the second-to-last possession in the quarter. He just needed a couple of minutes to kind of get some blurriness out of there. Checked with our medical staff, came back fine and came in. I can’t remember if it was the nine-minute mark or something like that in the fourth quarter, but just needed to just kind of get his eyesight reset.
On leaving lineups in longer once Jaren Jackson Jr. was in foul trouble:Yeah, wanted to be smart. Jaren had five. Obviously, we played significantly small at times tonight, and just trying to see what their matchups were with our coverages, and again, we played Ziaire at the four. We haven’t really played him at the four at all this year, so we were kind of coming up with different lineups on the fly. Obviously went to (Clarke), (Jackson Jr.). When he picks up the foul, then we go back to small. But, it was great that this is a test of how you’re going to have your endurance for 48 minutes. If it’s playing guys a little bit longer, pulling them out for a quick blow and putting them back in, you’ve just got to read the game.
On being more physical:Yea, I thought our effort was there. The physicality comes to the boards. We’re losing that battle right now. We’ve got to turn that around. I think our game plan discipline definitely improved. We didn’t have as many breakdowns as we did in Game 1. They’re still going to get loose. They’re such great movers without the ball. They’ve got creative counters to everything you’re doing. We’ve just got to keep competing. But, I think from a physicality standpoint, the boards we’ve got to do a whole lot better job of.
On Desmond Bane:He balanced some tightness in his back. What an unbelievable job tonight playing 32 minutes. Still trying to be a little smart, when to take him out, when to keep him fresh and all that. He was big time for us. I know he didn’t have the output that we’re used to, but just his ability to go out there and grind for 32 minutes. Luckily, we have three days now, and he did improve since Sunday. So, hopefully the next three days will allow him to significantly improve for Saturday.
On the Warriors forcing 3-point shooting and taking away points in the paint:We’ve got to find ways. Obviously, we’re used to scoring 50, 60, 70 points in the paint, but it’s their game plan and they’ve been committed to it. They’re doing an unbelievable job with still hitting the offensive rebounds, getting back in transition, showing a crowd. They’ve been really disciplined with that. We’ve just got to find those slivers of cracks where we can get into the paint as much as we can. We’ve got to drive in there with force, create rhythm, kick out to the 3-point line. But we’re telling our guys here’s the game plan. Still got to attack, find those cracks. If not, you’re going to be open. Shoot your open shots with confidence. Obviously, we shot the ball well the last two games. We’re definitely going to need that more if their game plan stays the same.
On being more aggressive with Dillon Brooks out:No, I felt like I shot the same amount of shots I did last game when he was out there. It was just, pretty much, taking what the defense was giving me. Obviously, Dillon is a key piece for us offensively and defensively. But, we had a lot of guys that stepped up and played big time for us. It’s good to have a deep team.
On his eye injury:I can see in the middle. I can't see on the outside. I got punched. I was trying to get the rebound, and he swung down. But yeah, we won.
On his eyesight affecting his shot:I think I shot two or three threes since I got back in. So, there you go. I made one.
On where this performance ranks in his career:Definitely big time. Definitely up there. I felt this was kind of a must-win game for us. For me, I was frustrated with myself for missing that layup in Game 1. I had some friendly words with Steph. After Game 1, he came to me and Jaren (Jackson Jr.) and said, ‘This is going to be a battle. We're going to have some fun.’ I was able to return that message tonight saying the same thing. I always say, this my favorite matchup. Playing against a guy like him with great talent. It’s going to be a battle.
On what’s going through his mind when he has to make a play:Go get a bucket. Pretty much that. Obviously, I love you know being in those moments. I love being the one to take those shots with all that pressure. But also, it’s just making the right play. If they try to take me away, I know I’ve got guys out on the floor who can make a big time shot for us. I just took it upon myself to go get a bucket for us to win.
On if he could see clearly in the final four minutes:Honestly, no. But, I’ve got another good one over here. 20/20 vision right here. So, thank God for my right eye.
On Ziaire Williams:Big time performance. He came in and battled for us. Hit some big-time shots, he forced and stepped into some tougher shots. Obviously, he's a hell of a player. So he's going to make a lot. I felt like he played great defense coming off not playing for a while. I felt like he took it upon himself to come out and be ready to play. Just seeing him day in and day out before this game. Big time performance from my little brother. Very bright. I’ve seen it since day one. He probably can tell you that I tell him the most, ‘Stop hesitating.’ I know what he's capable of. I’ve seen it. He’s just got to show everybody else.
On how the game affected him emotionally:Man, very tough team. With this team, they're always in the game no matter what the score is. But, for us, I felt like, we just got to continue to do the little stuff. When we were able to lead by 10 points. Then we had some, mistakes that they capitalized on and made some big-time shots, offensive rebounds, or 50/50 balls. It allowed them to get back into the game and take the lead. Just got to continue to do the little stuff. Boxing out guys, getting the rebound, and running.
On defending the Warriors’ offense:A lot of guys who can score the ball. You have to be locked in. For me, it's just locking into the game plan and staying locked in. Staying active on the floor. Obviously, being a point guard helps. Film study helps you know what play is coming. That's pretty much what I'm out there doing. Just being very active on the floor. Monitor the game plan. I can't say our game plan here. You know, they’ll get it but, yeah. For everybody saying something about my defense. It’s working for us.
On three of his teammates getting votes for Sixth Man of the Year:It’s big time. Just says how much of a factor those guys are for us. How important they are to this team. Having three guys get a votes is outstanding. A lot of credit goes to them putting in the work day in and day out, coming in helping produce for us and helping us win games. You can see it when they step on the floor for us. Tonight, they came in and played big time, no matter what it was.
On maintaining physicality:Just staying true to our game plan and playing our game. There's going to be nights where there's more than other nights. So, it's just playing your game really. Not really changing anything. Just trying to find ways to win when the fourth quarter comes.
On playing with Ja Morant:It's been that way the whole year, really. Ja has had a really great year. Every time that he drives, usually, the whole defense looks at him, but Golden State is like a veteran defense. They don't just watch Ja. They usually watch me too, and other guys. It’s really just being ready always off the ball, and always being ready to try to make a play if it comes your way.
On Morant scoring with lack of vision:That's crazy. He was just locked in tonight. He had 47 points, which is crazy. He played well. Ja is a very great player. Some of the best basketball I've seen ever, and it's crazy that I'm on his team for it. Just really happy about that, grateful for that. I would just say, he just has that grit to somehow find a way. Even if his eyes hurt. Even if his legs hurt or something. Even if his back is sore. He's always found a way. His grit and his toughness really showed tonight.
On adjusting offense:I’ve just got to find ways to be more active. Just got to find that energy even when it's kind of tough to find. There’s a couple plays when I was able to get the board, and I lost it. Which I can't have happen. I don't really need the ball really to make plays. There's a bunch of stuff I can do. I'm just there to do whatever it takes to win the game.
On physicality of the series:It's a playoff basketball. Emotions are high right now, but there's no room guys getting hurt off of flagrant fouls. I haven't even seen it really, but it's just about being locked in. We need Dillon (Brooks) on the floor. Hopefully, he can learn from that, and we can have him on the floor for the whole game for the rest of series.
On the road trip:Just staying true to ourselves. Like you said, we've been good on the road. So, just keep on doing what we've done the whole year. Just not changing our game plan. We're going to watch the film, not tomorrow, but the day after. Then, we're going to see what we’ve got to change and get better at. We’ve had a couple of big wins on the road so far in this playoff run that we've had. So, I’m sure that we'll be ready for it.
On if Draymond Green spoke to him:No, he didn't. I have a bunch of love for him. A bunch of respect for him. He's been a player that I've loved watching my whole career. It's just basketball. I think that he knows that, and we didn't really say much. It was just us playing today, and that's how it'll be for the rest of the series.
On what he’s looking forward to going out West:It's definitely fun playing there. They get loud. I like being back on the West Coast too. I'm from Phoenix, partially from Phoenix. It's always fun for me to go back there. I'm going to have a good time being there. It's fun playing there. They've been such a great team for many years. So, it's just a blessing being able to play there in the playoffs.
On Ja Morant in the fourth quarter:Mama there goes that man. He's a bucket. Yeah, he's a bucket for sure. Especially in the clutch time, like he knows how to get to where he wants to be. As a defender, I don't know what they think in their head but it's hard to stop him for sure.
On takeaways from the game:Same mentality, especially on rebounds, making sure that we've crashed the offensive rebounds and that we're boxing them out on that end too. Physicality helps a lot, in transition helps us get out and run, helps slow them down if we're getting offensive rebounds and pull backs offensive rebounds and threes. That physicality is something that we're going to bring over there.
On Morant’s eye injury:I saw that he had like, my eye, I don't remember what it was, but it was before that, way before that. No, I didn't know he was experiencing it still.
On Morant’s performance tonight:I feel like I've just watched him transform into like, a true closer, you know what I mean? We're like, at first, okay I'm going to hit the open guy. Okay, now I'm going to take the shot, eh, I'm missing it. But like now he's like, no, I got it, like last three minutes I got it. Don't even worry about it. It's hard for the defense to stop that.
On containing Andrew Wiggins:Yeah. Funny thing is, he's like the only guy crashing so sending more people to box him out is going to help us out a lot. Sometimes you leave with just one guy, and he's crazy athletic. He's fast. He's strong, he can jump. We need to send more than one guy at him especially if other guys aren't crashing the boards for sure.
On his performance tonight:Definitely better. I've felt like I was more free. I learned from my mistakes and then I just saw my instincts take over. Try not to repeat the same mistakes. Definitely better for sure, I will say today was probably like a B-plus.
On the previous matchup helping tonight:A lot, definitely, I got a chance to watch film while I was out. That helped a lot as well. It was a great team effort. We just wanted it more than them at the end of the day. I feel like of course, we could have gotten a few more rebounds, but it was a great team win. I just was just trying to just be as dialed in as much as possible and do whatever I can to get the dub.
On having energy after being out:Just stay ready. I wanted to play Game 1, when the training staff thought I could use extra days. Watch film, watch the game. Watch myself and different situations where I could’ve possibly have been and just try to take advantage of the moment. This is playoff basketball. It is what I've been watching and dreaming about my whole life. It was more fun than anything.
On if moments in the regular season helped tonight:Absolutely, definitely, life is always going to be adversity man. A lot worse things out there in the world than missing a shot. Thankfully, I was raised where when life hits you, we bounce back even stronger you learn from those moments, and you grow. That's the beauty in the struggle man, it's all part of the process and I'm all in. This program and this team, like I said just really try to do whatever I can to help my guys out there win the game.
On watching Ja Morant tonight:He's one of a kind of, never seen someone like him before. I'm just glad he's on our team. I do not have to guard him because there’s no one in the league that can guard that man for real.
On guarding Stephen Curry:I told Dillon Brooks right away, you know we got your back. We got you, don't worry about it. That was just what it was. I just stay ready for whenever name is called on regardless. So yeah, that's all of that. We definitely need DB. So it'll be good to have him back out there next game and you know, watch film, regroup and learn what we could do better.
On guarding the Warriors:It's a lot. Never really played a team and a group of guys who move so well off the ball, especially Steph. You really have to be dialed in on him at all times. It takes a lot of mental preparation, the small amount of details we talked about and film that goes a long way. I just tried to stay down with the gameplan and you know, he's going to make tough shots. It's just how good of a player he is. Just try to just move on to the next play and learn from it.
On Dillon Brooks:He was right there, as soon as we turn that corner to the locker room. He was right there dapping everybody up. We saw him at halftime. I told him we got your back we're going to get this dub. I told him that again. That's my guy, man. I love DB to death. He's telling me so much as a player, as a person this year. Just a great person just in life. Like I said, he's the heart and soul of this team and we're going to need him for Game 3 for sure.
On the Warriors defense:It's a fight out there. It's definitely war. We both want to get a championship really bad. It’s all about who wants it more. They killed us on a glass today, we’ve got to be better at that. Just glad we got some crucial stops at the end, learn from last game on like some of their out of balance plays and securing the ball. I’ve definitely got to be stronger on that for sure. That's got to be my rebound. Yeah, that's about it. It was just so it's all about who wants it more man.
- The Memphis Grizzlies evened the Western Conference Semifinals series, 1-1, with the Golden State Warriors.
- Memphis made 20 of their 21 free throw attempts (95.2%), going 8-for-8 in the fourth quarter.
- The Grizzlies won despite the Warriors winning the rebounding battle 52-47 and outscoring Memphis 60-42 in points in the paint and 20-10 in second chance points.
- Ja Morant tied his own playoff franchise scoring record with 47 points along with eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Morant scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, the second game this postseason he has gone for 18 points in a fourth period, and the final 15 points for the Grizzlies.
- Morant tied the record he initially set in Game 2 of the 2021 First Round at Utah.
- According to ESPN Stats & Info, Morant joins LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only players in NBA history with multiple 45-point postseason performances before turning 23 years old.
- Ziaire Williams scored 14 points, shooting 5-of-9 from the field and 4-of-8 from 3-point range, after missing the previous two games with right knee soreness.
- Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
- Jordan Poole notched 20 points off the bench after scoring a team-high 31 points in Game 1.