Ja Morant, Grizzlies too much for Nets
Ja Morant produced a dominating 36-point performance as the visiting Memphis Grizzlies survived a shaky fourth quarter in a 118-104 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
After being named Western Conference player of the week, Morant became the first player in franchise history to score at least 30 points in four straight games, breaking the team record he shared with Bryant Reeves, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol.
Morant scored 18 points in the third quarter when the Grizzlies outscored the Nets 40-26 and opened a 96-73 lead. He scored 14 points in the final 6:31 of the third when the Grizzlies outscored Brooklyn 25-8.
Morant shot 14 of 22 and spent most of the night getting shots in the paint. He highlighted his latest big performance by getting around Kevin Durant and James Johnson for a one-handed dunk with 5:12 left in the third quarter that made it 77-65, and then surpassed 30 points with a crafty left-handed layup around Bruce Brown and Blake Griffin with 1:36 to play in the quarter that made it 91-71.
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Desmond Bane added 29 as the Grizzlies won its fifth straight and handed Brooklyn its season-high third straight loss. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer that made it 115-102 with 2:30 remaining after the Nets had cut the lead to 10 after trailing by 28 early in the fourth.
After Bane’s 3-pointer, Morant then finished it off with another floater that made it 118-104 with 1:16 remaining.
Brandon Clarke scored 16 points while Jarrett Culver and Tyus Jones added 12 apiece as Memphis shot 47.1 percent. Steven Adams grabbed 12 rebounds as the Grizzlies outrebounded Brooklyn 61-33.
Durant scored 26 points but never got into rhythm as he shot 8 of 24 and missed six of eight 3-point tries. James Harden added 19 and eight assists but shot 5 of 14 as the Nets shot 45.1 percent in their fourth straight home loss.
Nic Claxton added 11 points, and Brown and Griffin finished with 10 apiece but Patty Mills missed all six of his shots and was held scoreless.
Before seizing control in the third, Memphis scored the game’s first seven points and held a 29-24 lead after the opening quarter. The Grizzlies extended the lead to 56-47 by halftime when Culver hit a layup with six-tenths of a second remaining.