NBA: Ja Morant scores triple-double as Grizzlies strangle Bucks

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts during the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedExForum on December 7, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee.

FILE–Ja Morant #12 by Memphis Grizzlies. Justin Ford/Getty Images/AFP

After Ja Morant’s triple brace, Memphis got their seventh straight win with a 142-101 home win over Milwaukee on Thursday night.

In a game that saw the Grizzlies take a 46-point lead in the fourth half and push the advantage 50 minutes into the final, Morant finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his third double of the season. . . He became the first player in franchise history to have a triple brace before the start of the fourth quarter.

Dillon Brooks added 18 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds for the Grizzlies. Steven Adams was a force in paint and scored 10 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Jaren Jackson Jr. crashed foul and finished with four points and six boards.

Despite Morant’s stats, Memphis received contributions from all over in the margin of victory. Tyus Jones (16 points), David Roddy (15 points), Brandon Clarke (12 points) and Ziaire Williams (11 points) and Santi Aldama (14 points) all came on from the bench to score double figures. Aldama scored all of his points in the second half, while the other four combined for 35 points in the first half.

“We were really locked on the defensive and that made us look good,” said Morant. “We were able to go out and run, get in the paint and score there.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Bobby Portis added 19 points and 7 rebounds, while MarJon Beauchamp had 12 points coming on from the bench.

“Almost left no one on the island with Giannis and Middleton,” Morant said of Memphis’ defensive formation.

“We had someone protecting them but it was a team effort to slow those two down, trying to force them into hard shots.

“Then it’s about getting back up and running. We did a great job at that and it gave us the lead very early.”

But Brook Lopez scored four points and three boards, Grayson Allen added four points and two rebounds, and Khris Middleton was kept only three points from shooting 1/12 from the field to count for other Milwaukee starts.

Memphis took a 9-2 lead to start the game after Morant connected on a 3-pointer with less than nine to play in the opening half. The Grizzlies’ lead increased to 18-8 after Roddy’s encounters with a 5:12 score in the first half.

A Jones three-pointer and a Morant one extended Memphis’ lead to 26-13 in the ninth minute, before Jones and Roddy made tit-forths to give the Grizzlies the lead. 33-18 after one inning.

Midway through the second half, Memphis took a 46-25 lead after another 3-pointer from Jones, his third in the first half, a Clark jump and Brooks saves. A 10-5 run, sparked by Jones and Roddy, took the home team’s lead to 56-30 with 4:53 to play in the second half. Morant’s consecutive goals put Memphis in a 70-41 lead after halftime.

Memphis continued to attack the NBA’s best defensive team in the third round by edging out Milwaukee 47-30, which nearly ended any chances of the Bucks coming back up.

The Grizzlies improved to 19-9 while Milwaukee fell 20-8 in second-tier club games at the East and West conferences.

“Everybody was in their groove, everyone was in their rhythm and everyone was playing with confidence,” Morant said.

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