Morant Shines In Home Return As Grizzlies Triumph Over Pacers

Memphis Grizzlies, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

Ja Morant made his first home appearance on Thursday after a lengthy 25-game NBA suspension, contributing significantly to the Memphis Grizzlies’ 116-103 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Morant made his impact felt as he racked up 20 points and eight assists, marking a triumphant to FedEx Forum.

The Grizzlies’ success was bolstered by Desmond Bane’s outstanding 31-point contribution and seven assists. Adding to the team’s robust offensive display, Jaren Jackson Jr. chipped in with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Bane’s accuracy from the field and beyond the arc was notable, with an 11-26 shooting performance, including 5-12 from three-point range. Morant’s efficient 7 -15 shooting also played a crucial role. This game marked the second consecutive win, where Morant, Bane, and Jackson each scored over 20 points.

Morant, reflecting on the game, praised the capabilities of his teammates Bane and Jackson, highlighting their scoring prowess and the difficulty opponents face in defending them.

“Having those two guys (Bane and Jackson) alongside of me who can pretty much go and score the ball at will at different levels is big time for us,” Morant said. “I feel like it makes us tougher to guard.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers Updates

Coach Taylor Jenkins of Memphis echoed these sentiments, pointing out the team’s strong track record when each member of the trio scores 20 or more points.

“We’ve got a pretty good record when those guys score 20-plus points,” Jenkins said.

Morant’s return follows his impressive 34-point game against New Orleans on Tuesday, which included a game-winning shot. His suspension by the NBA was due to incidents involving firearm displays on social media.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers Updates

The Pacers, despite their loss, saw a commendable performance from Obi Toppin, who led with 22 points. Significant contributions also came from Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Indiana coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged the game’s challenges but commended his team’s competitive spirit and poise.

“Overall, this was a tough game for a lot of reasons,” Carlisle said. “We didn’t play well, but we kept competing. I was really proud of the way the team kept their poise and their aggression.”

Memphis, leading 86-77 at the end of the third quarter, expanded their lead in the fourth, cruising to a comfortable victory. This win marks only their second home victory this season, contrasting their previous season’s strong home record. Conversely, the Pacers were coming off a notable 144-113 win against Charlotte.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers Updates

Coach Carlisle attributed the loss to a combination of missed opportunities and errors. Morant’s return seems to have injected fresh dynamism into the Grizzlies, which is evident in their first-half performance, where they shot incredibly well from the floor and the perimeter.

“We got unlucky with some miscues and some missed shots,” Carlisle said when asked about the difference against Memphis.

After a substantial lead by Memphis, the Pacers narrowed the gap to just two points at halftime. However, the Grizzlies responded effectively, reestablishing their lead in the third quarter. Morant’s presence has seemingly enhanced the team’s cohesion, reflected in 27 assists, with Morant and Bane contributing a combined 15.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers Updates

Coach Jenkins emphasized the significance of consistent ball movement, identifying it as a hallmark of the Grizzlies’ style of play.

“When we just get that ball moving for 48 minutes,” Jenkins said, “that’s Grizzlies basketball.”

Next up, the Pacers will host the Orlando Magic on Friday night, while the Grizzlies also set their sights on a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

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