Ja Morant is on a roll. The 2020 Rookie of the Year made his first All-Star team this season, has one of the top assist rates in the league while cutting his turnovers from the previous two years and scored a career- and franchise-high 46 points in a win over the Bulls on Saturday.
Last night, he did even better: Morant scored 52 points, topping his old mark, as the Grizzlies beat the Spurs, 118–105. But it was not just a night where Morant shot a cool 22-of-30 from the field. He scored 52 while having two of the biggest highlight reel plays of the year.
Late in the second quarter, Morant drove in on what was basically a 1-on-3. No matter. Morant got by Joshua Primo, then got into the paint where the 6-foot-3 Morant dunked over 7-foot Jakob Poeltl. He had 26 in the first half at that point. He was not done.
With 0.4 seconds left after a made free throw by the Spurs, Steven Adams threw a full court pass to Morant in the corner. He jumped, caught it, shot it without touching the floor … and it went in. The team went wild. The crowd, too. “I’m only a red zone guy,” Morant said postgame. “Fade route. Jump ball.”
Morant would end up getting a bunch of passes from teammates at the end in order to get to 50 points. The rest of Memphis’ starters scored just 18. The Grizzlies are, like Morant, on a roll: They’re 40-23, up to third in the West. Look out.