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Ja Morant leads Grizzlies over Kings

Jan 1, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) drives to the basket as Memphis Grizzlies guard Kennedy Chandler (1) defends during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ja Morant scored 35 points as the host Memphis Grizzlies pulled away down the stretch for a 118-108 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.

The Grizzlies won their third straight by putting together another effective fourth quarter to separate themselves from the Kings.

Morant scored nine of his points in the fourth, as the Grizzlies held the Kings to 21 points. Morant made 13 of 23 shots along with eight free throws and also finished with eight rebounds and five assists.

Steven Adams helped Morant get plenty of shots by matching his career high with 23 rebounds, including a career-best 13 offensive boards. Adams posted at least 20 rebounds for the second straight game and the center’s big night on the glass helped Memphis outrebound Sacramento 57-47 and score 64 points in the paint.

Reserve Tyus Jones contributed 18 points as the Grizzlies shot 46 percent and beat the Kings for the eighth time in the past nine meetings. Dillon Brooks added 15 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. chipped in 14.

De’Aaron Fox scored 19 points but shot 7 of 18 and committed five turnovers as the Kings were unable to win a third straight. Domantas Sabonis posted his 13th straight double-double with 18 points and 14 boards while Malik Monk also contributed 18 points.

The Kings turned a 59-58 halftime deficit into a 79-74 lead when rookie Keegan Murray hit a 3-pointer with 6:58 left in the third. Sacramento then went ice cold as the Grizzlies ripped off a 12-0 run and held a 91-87 lead heading into the final frame.

The Grizzlies began getting separation early in the fourth when Jones banked in his fifth 3-pointer for a 99-90 lead. The lead reached 105-92 when Adams used one hand to beat Sabonis for an offensive rebound and converted a putback dunk with 6:49 remaining.

Consecutive hoops by Morant and a basket by Brooks opened a 113-99 lead with 4:05 left, but Kevin Huerter’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 113-106 a little over a minute later. After a timeout, Memphis iced the game when Morant hit consecutive hoops and a free throw.

–Field Level Media