National Basketball Association

Grizzlies’ Morant set for first look at Lakers

Charlotte Hornets v Memphis GrizzliesGRIZZLIES (1-2) AT LAKERS (2-1)
10:30 p.m. ET; FSSE, SPEC, NBATV

After earning their first win in impressive fashion, rookie point guard Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Morant scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and assisted on Jae Crowder’s game-winning bucket at the buzzer, allowing the Grizzlies to post a 134-133 overtime victory over the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

Morant forced the extra session by sinking a layup with seven seconds remaining. He also blocked a potential game-winning shot by Kyrie Irving near the end of regulation.

“It’s just Ja,” said Morant, referring to himself in the third person. Morant, the No. 2 pick of the 2019 NBA Draft out of Murray State, is averaging 18 points and six assists through three games.

“Just learning from the past two games and talking with my teammates and the coaches just told me I needed to stay aggressive whenever I’m in the game,” he added. “That was what I was trying to do, just put pressure on the defense and make the right plays. Tonight, I felt like I had it going.”

With 3.7 seconds remaining in overtime, Morant dribbled the length of the court before passing to Crowder, who nailed a 3-pointer for the victory.

Morant finished with 30 points and nine assists, joining Isiah Thomas (1981) and Trae Young (2018) as the only players to record those numbers or better in one of their first three games.

Dillon Brooks scored 21 points for the Grizzlies, who had seven players reach double figures.

The win was the first for Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins, whose team dropped its initial two contests to the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.

“What a game, huh? As the players said, I’m wearing it well right now,” Jenkins said, according to NBA.com. “Heck of a game. Super proud of our group. Obviously, to get our first win of the season, it took a complete team effort. I’m just super proud of our guys.”

The Lakers won their second straight contest on Sunday, a 120-101 victory over the visiting Charlotte Hornets. Anthony Davis scored 25 of his 29 points in the first half, and then LeBron James took over in the second half, racking up 16 of his 20 points. James also recorded 12 assists.

The performance reinforced the Lakers’ belief that Davis and James will form an almost unstoppable duo.

“Just knowing that I’m probably gonna play the whole third (quarter) and then kind of sit a little bit through the fourth, I try to tell (James) like, ‘This is your time. Just go and be you,'” said Davis, who also had 14 rebounds and three blocks. “And he’s done it the past couple of games. So knowing that, I was able to relax a little bit.”

Los Angeles also enjoyed a vintage outing from backup center Dwight Howard, who finished with 16 points, converting all eight of his field goal attempts, while adding 10 rebounds and four blocks.

“Dwight’s shown bursts like that all throughout (training) camp,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “But tonight in particular, he was off the charts.”

–Field Level Media

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