The 2020 Rookie of the Year added five rebounds and a team-best eight assists as the Grizzlies survived a third quarter Warriors fightback to roar home in the fourth — Morant scoring five points in the final minute to seal the victory and extend a franchise record winning streak.
Grizzlies pair Tyus Jones and Ziaire Williams each scored 17 points, with Jones perfect from deep — converting all five of his three-point attempts, a game-high.
A feat made all the more impressive given he shared the court with the undisputed three-point king Steph Curry, though the Warriors guard’s sights were — for once — out of sync at FedExForum.
Curry converted just two of his nine three-point attempts yet still led scoring for the Warriors with 27 points, adding a game-high 10 assists as well as 10 rebounds.
Klay Thompson — featuring for the second straight game after an emotional long-awaited return from injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday — scored 14 points to finish as the Warriors’ second highest scorer despite clocking just 20 minutes on court.
As joyous as Thompson’s homecoming was, it now marks the sole victory in the Warriors last four games.
A 30-10 record keeps them within reach of the Phoenix Suns (31-9) at the top of the Western Conference but with road trips to the Milwaukee Bucks (26-17) and the East-leading Chicago Bulls (27-11) to come, that gap could soon get wider.
Despite a poor start proving too much to undo, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was pleased by the manner of the fightback against “the hottest team in the league.”
“We did a lot of really good things to get back in it after a really bad first half,” Kerr told reporters.
“It was a great game. Two of the best teams in the league. They’re the hottest team in the league, and we gave ourselves a chance, but we didn’t play well enough to win.”
‘We’re one of the best teams in the league’
For the Grizzlies though, it’s sunshine and rainbows as 10 straight victories have rocketed them up the Western Conference to a 29-14 record — and Morant believes the Grizzlies are now commanding the respect they deserve from the league.
“I bet you we’ve got it now. Go on social media,” Morant told reporters.
“Number one is we’re one of the best teams in the league. Number two … is how deep our roster is. No matter what’s thrown at us, we bounce back from it, come out and win games.
“Just got to keep it rolling — continue to play together, continue to battle and whatever is fueling us, continue to do.”
Booker sees Suns through
Elsewhere in the NBA, the visiting Suns edged the Toronto Raptors 99-95 to snap the home side’s six-game winning streak.
Devin Booker made back-to-back jumpers to put the Suns ahead and tee up a pulsating final minute, with Deandre Ayton’s free throws sealing the victory and lifting the Western Conference leaders to 30-9.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers overcame a 25-point, third-quarter deficit to stun the visiting Denver Nuggets 87-85.
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