The Memphis Grizzlies ended the Golden State Warriors’ unbeaten start to the season with a 104-101 overtime win thanks in large part to another box office performance from Ja Morant.
The No. 2 pick in the 2019 NBA draft outplayed his illustrious opposite number Stephen Curry late on and led his team with 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 42 minutes of action.
Curry put up 36 points of his own, including a ludicrous 25-foot three-pointer off one leg, to go with seven rebounds and eight assists, but was unable to register a single point in the fourth quarter – and then overtime – for the third consecutive game, missing two huge three-point attempts down the stretch.
Conversely, Morant excelled in the closing stages, shooting a deep three – à la Curry – over Draymond Green with just under four minutes to play and then pulled out a remarkable spin move and layup with 58 seconds remaining in overtime.
“Starting out early, I feel like we didn’t come out ready to play,” Morant said courtside after the game. “We allowed them to get comfortable, which led them to get a big lead, but everybody knows the Grizzlies, man.
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“We play till the end, so we fought back, started locking in on the game plan, came out in the second half, got stops and was able to go on a run and get the lead and we had to battle.
“We’ve got a great team, a great group of guys. Everybody is capable of doing different things on the floor, which makes us a very dangerous team. You can’t just focus on one guy, and tonight we had a lot of guys that chipped in, helped us out and helped us get this big win on the road to go back home.”
Defeat at Chase Center leaves Golden State at 4-1 for the year, with the Grizzlies moving to 3-2.
The Knicks down the Bulls
Golden State were one of two teams to lose their unbeaten records on Thursday, as the New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 104-103 in the Windy City.
Kemba Walker led the Knicks with an efficient 21 points – including five triples – five rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes.
With the game seemingly over, Chicago went on a 12-0 run to close the gap to just a point in the closing stages and even had the chance to win it with the final shot of the game, but DeMar DeRozan missed his pull-up to hand the Knicks an impressive road win.
Bulls star Zach LaVine led his team with 25 points, six rebounds and three assists despite deciding to play through the pain of a torn ligament in his left, non-shooting hand.
The result leaves both New York and Chicago with 4-1 records in the Eastern Conference.