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Ja Morant returns, Memphis rolls to 8th straight win

Jan 11, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) drives to the basket during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ja Morant returned to the lineup with a bang as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs at home for the second time in three days Wednesday night, 135-129, to extend their winning streak to eight.

Memphis led nearly the entire game, but San Antonio cut the Grizzlies lead to 130-127 with 2:41 to play on a Josh Richardson jump shot. But a blocked shot by Steven Adams and a tip-in by Adams on the offensive end gave the Grizzlies a 132-127 lead with 1:44 to play.

A Tre Jones layup made it 133-129 Memphis with 41 seconds to play. But Morant sealed the win with a layup with 24 seconds to go.

Morant finished with a game-high 38 points in his return from a right thigh injury. Desmond Bane tallied 18 points, six rebounds and three assists. Jaren Jackson Jr. (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Adams (11 points, 18 rebounds) recorded double-doubles for Memphis.

Second-teamers Tyus Jones (16 points), Xavier Tillman (eight points) and Ziaire Williams (nine points) continued their outstanding play for the Grizzlies.

Leading scorer Keldon Johnson (hamstring) returned to San Antonio’s starting lineup and had a team-high 24 points. Tre Jones added 22 points and six assists.

Jakob Poeltl (17 points, 12 rebounds) added his ninth double-double of the season. Jeremy Sochan tallied 11 points and five assists.

Zach Collins (14 points, 12 rebounds) added his second double-double of the season off the bench for the Spurs. Reserves Doug McDermott (15 points) and Richardson (12 points) also played well.

San Antonio led 37-32 after the first quarter behind seven points from Sochan and six points from Johnson. Morant tallied 14 in the opening quarter for Memphis.

A 11-0 run to open the second quarter put the Grizzlies up 43-37 with 9:43 to go until halftime. Morant had 21 points and Bane 15 as Memphis held a 76-62 lead at the break.

Dillon Brooks had all seven of his points in the third quarter as the Grizzlies outscored San Antonio 36-35 to carry a 112-97 lead into the fourth quarter.

Brandon Clarke did not play for Memphis due to a hip injury.

–Field Level Media