NBA: Ja Morant scores 41 to lead Grizzlies past Spurs

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 27 2022 12:58 PM

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) looks to pass the ball while defended by San Antonio Spurs forward Doug McDermott (17) and center Jakob Poeltl (25) during the first half at AT&T Center. Scott Wachter, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) looks to pass the ball while defended by San Antonio Spurs forward Doug McDermott (17) and center Jakob Poeltl (25) during the first half at AT&T Center. Scott Wachter, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.

Ja Morant scored 41 points to tie his season-high and nailed four big free throws in the final 1:08 as the visiting Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the San Antonio Spurs 118-110 on Wednesday night.

The Grizzlies led by three points at halftime and by 94-86 after three periods. San Antonio roared back to tie the game at 106 on Dejounte Murray's jumper with 4:52 left. Jaren Jackson Jr.'s 3-pointer a minute later allowed Memphis to move in front for good, and Morant finished things off with his work from the charity stripe in the end game.

Jackson added 22 points for the Grizzlies, with Desmond Bane hitting for 20 and Ziaire Williams scoring 11. Memphis has won two of its past three games and has taken the past six games against San Antonio.

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Murray led the Spurs with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, racking up his 10th triple-double of the season, second in the NBA to Denver's Nikola Jokic (11).

Murray now has twice as many triple-doubles this season than any other player in Spurs history has had in a season. The previous record for a season was five by David Robinson (1993-94) and Johnny Moore (1984-85). With 14 career triple-doubles, Murray is tied now on the Spurs' career list with Robinson.

Devin Vassell paced the Spurs with 20 points off the bench, while Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl scored 18 each. Derrick White hit for 14 and Lonnie Walker IV had 12 points for San Antonio, which has dropped three of its past four games.

The first quarter had seven lead changes over the first 4:30 before the Grizzlies took charge, running away from a 12-11 deficit via a 13-2 run capped by Morant's finger-roll layup at the 3:35 mark of the period. Memphis would eventually build a 13-point advantage.

The Grizzlies pushed their lead to 15 points on Jackson's dunk with 7:13 to play in the second period. But the rest of the half belonged to San Antonio, which used a 16-2 run to draw within 59-58 with 51.3 seconds remaining. Memphis led 61-58 at the break.

Morant led all scorers with 15 points in the half, with Jackson and Bane adding 13 each for the Grizzlies. Johnson paced the Spurs with 14 points over the first two quarters, and White and Vassell hitting for 10 apiece.