NBA: Ja Morant sets franchise-record 52 points, Grizzlies top Spurs | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Ja Morant sets franchise-record 52 points, Grizzlies top Spurs

/ 12:00 PM March 01, 2022
Ja Morant Grizzlies NBA

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates with teammates during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at FedExForum on February 28, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. Justin Ford/Getty Images/AFP

Ja Morant notched franchise records with 52 points and 22 field goals to lift the host Memphis Grizzlies to a 118-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

The impressive display came two days after Morant scored a franchise regular-season-record 46 points in a victory over the Chicago Bulls. His previous career-high for any contest was 47 in a playoff loss to the Utah Jazz last season.

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Morant provided a number of signature moments on Monday, including an emphatic dunk over Jakob Poeltl late in the second quarter and a buzzer-beating jumper to give the Grizzlies a 68-58 lead at halftime.

De’Anthony Melton scored 15 points for Memphis, which recorded its 11th win in 14 outings overall and prevented San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich from tying Hall of Famer Don Nelson’s NBA record for regular-season coaching victories (1,335).

Tyus Jones added 13 points for the Grizzlies, who shot 53.9 percent from the floor — including 42.3 percent (11 of 26) from 3-point range — to record their third win in as many outings against the Spurs this season.

San Antonio’s Lonnie Walker IV scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half.

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Dejounte Murray put up 21 points in his return from a one-game absence caused by a knee injury.

Poeltl collected 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who completed their lengthy road trip with a 4-4 record.

Zach Collins made a pair of free throws to cut Memphis’ lead to 86-85 with 3:02 remaining in the third before the Grizzlies countered with a 10-0 run to end the quarter.

San Antonio exploited the interior before Murray’s pullup jumper cut the deficit to five points with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter. Undaunted, Morant had an offensive rebound and a put-back, a free throw and four layups on the next six possessions to push Memphis’ advantage to 115-101 with 3:09 to play.

Morant capped his night by making technical free throw and another shot from the charity stripe after Murray was ejected with 2:24 to play.

San Antonio trailed by 11 before cutting the Grizzlies’ lead to 51-50 with 5:18 to play in the second quarter before Morant continued his onslaught. He sank three 3-pointers and three additional baskets prior to halftime.

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