LOS ANGELES – Ja Morant continues to soar to new heights. In Sunday’s 127-119 win over the Lakers, the Memphis Grizzlies’ budding star’s rise was quite literal, as Morant’s two-handed chase blockade of Lakers guard Avery Bradley left him behind. both teams marveled at the play.
“That’s probably the best block I’ve seen live,” Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. said. “Probably the best block I’ve ever seen, period. That was crazy.”
Near the midpoint of the first quarter, with Memphis leading 12-9, Bradley deflected a pass from Morant and they cornered the steal in midfield, creating a counter-attack opportunity for him to finish on the spot. other extreme.
Only Morant had other plans.
The third-year guard ran back on defense and caught up with Bradley from behind, leaping from beyond the restricted area to catch Bradley’s layup attempt with both hands while the ball was still rising.
Morant’s head was close to the rim as he controlled the ball’s path across the top of the square on the backboard, and he picked up the ball once back on the court to provoke a Grizzlies counterattack to the other basket.
“Obviously, it starts with time and also stalking its prey,” said LeBron James, who had the most significant chase block in league history in the closing minutes of Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. ” And that’s exactly what Ja was doing throughout the play, and I saw it happen.
“I didn’t know he was going to do it that way, but he got rockets in his calf muscles and it was a spectacular play. It was a great play. Salute.”
Morant, who was left out of the Grizzlies’ victory over the LA Clippers on Saturday with a sore left thigh, was looking great on Sunday. He finished with 16 points, seven assists, five rebounds and, of course, that block.
“I just came back and made an incredible play,” Morant said. “I was just trying to pick up the ball. Most of the time on a break like that, if you block it, there might be a player behind to grab the ball and set it up. It worked perfect for me.
“Now I’m probably on the Internet for that.”
It was just another memorable moment on the personal highlight reel Morant has had against the Lakers this season after losing 40 points in each of the teams’ first two meetings.
And he helped the Grizzlies to their ninth straight victory, placing them within a game of the Utah Jazz for third place in the Western Conference standings.
“That was a special play by a special player,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I don’t know what else to say about it.”