NBA: Ja Morant takes charge, Grizzlies come back to nip Knicks | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Ja Morant takes charge, Grizzlies come back to nip Knicks

/ 12:26 PM March 12, 2022
Ja Morant Grizzlies

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first quarter against the New York Knicks on February 2, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Rich Graessle/Getty Images/AFP

Ja Morant scored 15 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter as the Memphis Grizzlies overcame a 15-point deficit and earned an 118-114 victory over the visiting New York Knicks on Friday.

The Grizzlies faced a 96-81 deficit with 1:08 left in the third quarter but outscored New York 37-18 the rest of the way.

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Morant shot 14 of 33 to post his 24th 30-point game this season. He helped Memphis win for the fifth time in seven games by scoring 10 consecutive Grizzlies points in a span of 2:06 late in the contest.

After Alec Burks hit a short floater with 3:54 left to put New York ahead 106-105, Morant sank the go-ahead free throws 37 seconds later. He then hit a finger roll and then made two more free throws before adding an 11-footer and an alley-oop layup for a 115-108 lead with 1:11 remaining.

Despite Morant’s dynamic burst, the Grizzlies struggled in the final minute. After Memphis’ Desmond Bane missed two free throws with 14.3 seconds left, Mitchell Robinson’s put-back dunk got New York within 117-114 with 7.8 seconds left.

Morant hit 1 of 2 free throws with 5.5 seconds left to seal the outcome.

Jaren Jackson Jr. added 13 points and also recorded five of the Grizzlies’ blocked shots. Rookie Ziaire Williams also finished with 13 points while Bane chipped in 12 for Memphis, which shot 44.7 percent and survived missing 12 of 29 free throw attempts.

Julius Randle had 36 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who missed a chance at a season-high fourth straight win. Randle shot 11 of 27, including 1 of 5 in the fourth quarter, when the Knicks were outscored 31-18.

RJ Barrett added 23 to help New York overcome a 12-point, first-half deficit in a game that featured 22 lead changes. Burks scored 18, Evan Fournier chipped in 12 and Robinson collected 10 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks and three steals as the Knicks lost for the 12th time in 16 games.

The Grizzlies led 61-56 at halftime, but the Knicks ripped off a 12-0 run to take a 72-65 lead on Robinson’s dunk with 8:15 left in the third. New York used a 13-2 run to take a 96-81 lead before Memphis began its comeback.

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