Postgame Report: Morant’s triple-double lifts Grizzlies over Jazz
Key Stat of the Night
- The Grizzlies recorded 66 points in the paint and 29 fast break points. The Grizzlies are on pace to lead the NBA in both categories this season after topping the league in both last season.
Key Run of the Night
- Utah cut Memphis’ 14-point lead to 105-101 with 4:40 remaining, but the Grizzlies scored 10 of the next 12 to rebuild a double-digit lead.
One night after he was named a starter for what will be his first career NBA All-Star appearance, Ja Morant posted the highest-scoring triple-double in franchise history to lead the Memphis Grizzlies over the Utah Jazz.
Morant recorded 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Grizzlies, who defeated the Jazz for the second time this season and created 3.5 games of distance between Memphis and fourth-place Utah. It marked his fifth straight game with at least 30 points, breaking his previous franchise record of four games, set just one month ago from Dec. 27-Jan. 3.
Brandon Clarke tallied a season-high 22 points off the bench, the highest-scoring game by a Grizzlies reserve this season. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 18 points, five rebounds, and a season high-tying six blocks. Desmond Bane had 17 points while De'Anthony Melton contributed 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals off the bench.
The Grizzlies recorded 66 points in the paint and 29 fast break points in a matchup between the Southwest and Northwest Division leaders. Memphis entered the game leading the NBA in both categories, the Grizzlies’ second straight season to do so.
Danuel House Jr. led the Jazz with 21 points and two rebounds while Mike Conley scored all of his 15 points in the second half. Royce O'Neale scored 12 while Hassan Whiteside contributed 11 for the Jazz, who played without Rudy Gobert (left calf strain) and Donovan Mitchell (concussion protocol).
The Grizzlies and Jazz spent the first half going blow for blow before Morant keyed an 18-2 run to give Memphis a double-digit lead. Morant led all scorers with 16 points to go with eight rebounds in the first half.
The Grizzlies used a 13-5 run to stretch their lead to as much as 14 in the third quarter as Clarke scored 10 points in the period. An O’Neale 3-pointer brought the Jazz within four with 4:39 left to play before the Grizzlies outscored the Jazz 14-6 in the final four minutes of play.
The Grizzlies will look to sweep their back-to-back with a matchup against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. Fans can watch on Bally Sports Southeast and listen on ESPN 92.9 FM.
On Brandon Clarke:He’s having a heck of a season. Magnificent season. He and I talk, and I told him, "I love the spark you’re giving us." I could rattle off a million things that he does, but the energy that he brings, the activity when you see him and Jaren coming over and collapsing at the rim, and getting rebounds. We want to play with pace - and when we have a big that can run the floor like he does, and can get rebounds and outlet it to the guards - it helps us establish pace. I think he does a great job rolling and slipping out, but the physicality he plays with, too. He does a great job of setting up his teammates to get downhill. When he comes in and plays with that energy and consistency, his game is going to make an impact.
On bigs that run in transition:It takes our transition offense to another gear. We are watching tons of film after games - or in preparation for games - and we always stress pace, and you can do it in a variety of different ways - How we outlet the ball, run the floor and getting it to the corners. A lot of time, Brandon Clarke can get it up and still be involved in a lob on the other end after getting a rebound. When you have guys that can run the floor, it adds another level to the pace we can get to. Brandon Clarke and Ja Morant have a great connection right now, so it creates a lot of advantages for us.
On Ja having a triple double after All-Star announcement:It was a special night. Last night was the tip-off to getting the recognition of an All-Star starter. But to come out here and continue to do what he’s doing - as you can see - he loves playing at a high level and performing. He’s been doing that for a long stretch now and he’s gotten rewarded for it. But for him to come out here the night after, and continue to put stamps on where his game is going, is a credit to him. It is a credit to this team to be able to perform like this every night. 30-10-10 started with him and his teammate’s success.
On Jaren Jackson Jr’s defense:His defense is incredible right now. I found out right after the game this is his first time getting six blocks in back-to-back games, and in the NBA in seven or eight years, and he’s getting five a night. You just see all that stuff being put out there for everyone to absorb, he does not get a lot of attention. It is so great the other night in Denver after the game Ja Morant talks about the recognition that his teammates should get, it’s not about him, it’s his teammates. What JJ is doing for us offensively, the versatility and the growth that he shows with his drive and finish game. Big time three to close the game, but what he does every possession on the defensive end with great communication, great activity, great discipline around the rim, it’s a tone setter for us. Hopefully he continues to get recognition, but he’s not motivated by that. He’s motivated by helping us win and he does a good job of it.
On being able to get steals, blocks, etc:I think it starts with individual players. We have competitive guys that play at their strength, which is activity. I think a lot of these guys knew that coming in. From our system, we talk about the sound defense on the ball. A lot of it is our team rotation and team activity, plugging in the gaps and driving the lanes, and having active hands. We talk about this day one in training camp, and for our guys to continue and do that, whether it’s a guard, big or drive situation, it doesn’t matter. We know that when we’re getting our hands on balls, 50-50 balls, deflections, rebounds - whatever it is - it’s probably going to lead to our pace and get us to play our best basketball. The fact that the guys embrace that we don’t have a lot of opportunities to drill it, but they go out there and see it on the film, it’s a huge part of our success. Credit to (the players).
On knowing what Ja and Jaren are capable of:I think for them the sky is the limit. You can fill in the blank and replace it with what the sky is. These guys are just focused on trying to push the envelope to get better, from individual development and team development. I like to sit back and watch what they’re doing. It helps motivate me to figure out different ways to get more out of them. Luckily, those guys are fueled by that. One day at a time, one year at a time, we’re just going to figure it out and hopefully keep going further and further.
On having Brandon Clarke running in transition:BC is super athletic. All I know is that if I am on the break and he is running that wing, it is pretty much try to make a defender commit and throw it in the air. I know he can go get it, it helps me out.
On the pregame surprise by the team and staff:After it happened I put two and two together. I realized Kevin was out of position at the start, so he was the one letting them know when I came into the tunnel. Then I pulled in, and I was backing in and Jaren (Jackson Jr.) pulled up. Normally he will sit in his car and play his last song, then come in the arena. Instead, he hopped out of the car and started running. I hopped out and just walking, he was screaming something. I could not tell you what he was screaming, I do not know. I had seen everybody, and I was shook.
On the in-game standing ovation after being named an All-Star starter:Sorry for not acting on it, I was locked in. I felt like I was playing kind of bad at the start of the game, not finishing layups, etc. I was focused on the game - locked in. I appreciate everybody cheering for me, but in that moment, I felt like I needed to win; I had to get that.
On the last 24 hours:It has been big time - it was much needed getting to see my family during this time. Getting the All-Star starting nod and being with them when my name was called, obviously was something I wanted to do, to be able to do and I was able to do that. Thankful for the organization letting me be able to go spend time with my grandma. Coming back, I was the same Ja as before the announcement was made, go out and prove myself try to win the game.
On what has been clicking this season:Found the right focus, to play constant every night. I found the fun too, come out every night and have fun. Probably something I did not have as much last year, something I did not realize I did not have until this year. Just finding the focus to come out every night and bring the energy.
On communication with the guards on lobs:We are talking on the bench - in the game I can look at Ja Morant, look at Tyus Jones, look at De'Anthony Melton and we just know. It is just chemistry of playing together for three years. I can look at Ja, look at whoever and know what to do.
On Jaren Jackson Jr.’s defensive improvement:He has found a way to block shots without fouling. His nose for the ball on defense has been really good, he has been really good at just being there. That is something that is a part of blocking shots, just being there. His arms are so long and he is just such a great player on defense. He has figured out how to be in the right place at the right time, and how to do it without fouling. It has been huge for him, and he has been on a crazy tear right now, he had six blocks tonight. It has been fun to watch.
- The Memphis Grizzlies opened their home back-to-back with their first win over the Utah Jazz inside FedExForum since Jan. 15, 2019. Memphis earned its second win over Utah in as many matchups after the Jazz won the previous six regular season tilts (and four of five in the 2021 Playoffs).
- The Grizzlies handed the Jazz their fourth consecutive loss, which ties their longest losing streak of the season. Memphis created 3.5 games of distance between fourth-place Utah in what was a matchup between the Southwest and Northwest Division leaders.
- The Memphis Grizzlies are now 16-6 in “clutch” games this season (when the margin is +/- 5 points within the final 5 minutes of the 4Q or OT). Memphis has the second-best “clutch” winning percentage (.727) in the NBA this season.
- Ja Morant recorded his fourth career triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists one night after he was named a starter in what will be his first career NBA All-Star appearance. It marked the highest-scoring triple-double in franchise history and Morant’s franchise-record fifth consecutive game with at least 30 points. Morant eclipsed his own club record of four straight games, set just last month from Dec. 27-Jan. 3.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. added 18 points, five rebounds and a season high-tying six blocks. Jackson Jr. became the first player to block at least six shots in consecutive games since Anthony Davis in 2014.
- Brandon Clarke tallied a season-high 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting, the highest-scoring game by a Grizzlies reserve this season.
- Danuel House Jr. had 21 points off the bench to lead the Jazz, who played without Donovan Mitchell (concussion protocol) and Rudy Gobert (left calf strain). Mitchell missed his sixth straight game while Gobert sat out his third.
- Mike Conley scored all of his 15 points in the second half.