NBA

Morant after first career triple-double - Grizzlies will keep playing with a chip on our shoulder

By Sports Desk February 10, 2020

Ja Morant says the Memphis Grizzlies will keep playing with a chip on their shoulder after his first career triple-double helped inspire a comeback win over the Washington Wizards.

The Grizzlies earned a 106-99 victory on the road on the back of Morant's 27 points, 10 assists and as many rebounds. 

It saw the Grizzlies move to 27-26 for the campaign, one more triumph than some sportsbooks were projecting at the beginning of the season.

Morant, who is in the hunt to win the NBA's Rookie of the Year, says the team – who are eighth in the Western Conference – remain fuelled to succeed due to being written off.

"I feel like we all here just have a chip on our shoulder," said Morant. 

"Like I said before, they had us picked to win 26 games this year. That's a chip right there, and we just passed that tonight. But the chip won't leave."

Speaking post game to Fox Sports, Morant said: "[It was] our mindset [that earned the win]. 

"We all felt like as a whole we weren't playing how we wanted to play, how we needed to play. We had to pick up our energy well.

"I mean it's our fight, we live by never give up, go out and compete each and every night. Always play together. Tonight we came back late in fourth quarter and came out with a big win on the road."

The Wizards led by 12 at the end of the first but went 4-for-26 shooting in the final quarter and Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins saluted the team's fighting spirit.

"It was awesome for Ja to get his first career triple-double, the guys are super happy for him," he said. 

"But one of the biggest plays of the game was the late shot clock, he finds Brandon Clarke, who had been struggling all game, trusted his team-mate, found an open three and it was a big-time shot.

"There was so much trust throughout the game for our guys, they kept fighting, kept communicating, kept their spirits up. 

"I'm really proud of them, this could have been a game where we said 'we just don't have it man, nothing's working for us' but they kept their heads up."

Related items

  • Joel Embiid: I'm proving I'm the best in the world Joel Embiid: I'm proving I'm the best in the world

    Joel Embiid feels his current run of form, including a 22-point display in the NBA All-Star Game, has proven he is the best player in the world.

    Big man Embiid is often maligned despite averaging 23.3 points and 12 rebounds per game this season, with his highly-talented Philadelphia 76ers an underwhelming fifth in the Eastern Conference.

    But the 25-year-old has had a big hand in Sixers wins either side of the All-Star break.

    Embiid tallied 26 points and nine rebounds as he starred alongside Ben Simmons in a defeat of the Los Angeles Clippers, while a brilliant 39-point, 16-rebound return lifted Philadelphia to an overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, extending their winning run to four games.

    In between those two performances, Embiid also managed 22 points and 10 rebounds for Team Giannis as he took on the best the Western Conference had to offer.

    It was this display in the All-Star Game that Embiid felt secured his place as the league's elite performer.

    "The All-Star game was fun, being there in the fourth quarter doing my thing at the end of the game," he said after seeing off the Nets, who will miss Kyrie Irving for the remainder of the season.

    "The game against the Clippers was a good starting spot, but the All-Star game was just proving that I'm here, I belong, being the best player in the world.

    "And I just intend to keep coming out every single night and playing hard, just going out and trying to win a championship."

    Embiid will have the opportunity to back up his claim on Saturday when the Sixers take on conference leaders the Milwaukee Bucks and All-Star captain Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is on course for a second straight MVP award.

    "We beat them pretty bad in the first matchup [121-109 in December], they got us the last one [112-101 earlier this month]," Embiid said. "So, it's on us to go out there and try to beat them again."

  • Russell Westbrook on ejection: I'm always the bad guy Russell Westbrook on ejection: I'm always the bad guy

    Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook bemoaned always being considered "the bad guy" and queried why more players were not punished in the incident that led to his ejection against the Golden State Warriors.

    Nine-time All-Star Westbrook's night ended prematurely when he received two technical fouls in Houston's 135-105 victory.

    The second of those technical fouls came in the fourth quarter after Westbrook caught Damion Lee with a stray arm.

    The situation was only exacerbated when Westbrook then argued with players on Golden State's bench, including the injured Klay Thompson, before confronting Kevon Looney prior to being ejected.

    "I hold myself to a very, very high standard," Westbrook told reporters afterwards.

    "I think the refs, the fans, the media, the NBA are put in a position now that I'm not allowed to really do much. Obviously I'm an emotional guy.

    "If you watch the clip, obviously I hit Lee but it wasn't on purpose. I'm going to the glass, he got hit. He said something to me, I said something to him.

    "I'm standing there, a guy [Juan Toscano-Anderson] comes to snatch the ball out of my hand. Guys come running to me, I didn't move.

    "But I'm always the one who gets painted to be the bad guy in the whole situation.

    "They asked me to walk towards the Warriors bench. I'm just over there walking towards the bench and then one of the little young fellas tells me, 'Why you walking over here?'

    "I turned around and said, 'What did you say?' So now everybody's running over to me, then I'm walking towards the thing, then Looney steps in front of me.

    "I feel like I'm in a position where it's like, 'Oh, well. Russ is being Russ', which nobody knows what that means.

    "But I've got to do a better job of holding myself to a very, very high standard. I'll make sure I leave no room for error to allow somebody to paint me out to be a guy that I'm not."

    However, Westbrook, who had 21 points and 10 assists before his exit, felt he was singled out and that others should have been punished too.

    "I just think it's unfair, though, that after all of that, I'm the only one who gets a tech or kicked out," added Westbrook, who leads the NBA with 13 technical fouls this season.

    "That's not fair, I don't care what nobody says.

    "There were so many other people involved in it that were doing so many things that weren't okay but I'm the one that gets the tech, gets ejected, and everyone else is cool and gets back to play.

    "But I take responsibility and I hold myself to a very high standard."

  • Antetokounmpo stars for Bucks, Rockets crush Warriors Antetokounmpo stars for Bucks, Rockets crush Warriors

    Giannis Antetokounmpo starred as the Milwaukee Bucks resumed their NBA season with a comfortable win, while the Houston Rockets cruised on Thursday.

    Back in action after the All-Star break, the Bucks improved to 47-8 with a 126-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

    Antetokounmpo finished with a double-double of 33 points and 16 rebounds, while Khris Middleton poured in 28 points.

    Eric Bledsoe went eight-of-14 from the field for his 19 points and Brook Lopez contributed 18 for the Bucks.

    The Rockets were untroubled by the Golden State Warriors in a 135-105 thrashing.

    James Harden (29 points and 10 assists) and Russell Westbrook (21 points and 10 assists) finished with double-doubles.

    All five of Houston's starters finished with double-digits for points, with Robert Covington adding 20.

     

    Young red-hot as Embiid lifts 76ers

    Trae Young had a career-high 50 points in the Atlanta Hawks' 129-124 win over the Miami Heat.

    Joel Embiid's double-double of 39 points and 16 rebounds helped the Philadelphia 76ers past the Brooklyn Nets 112-104 after overtime.

    Malik Monk's 25 points off the bench helped the Charlotte Hornets beat the Chicago Bulls 103-93.

     

    Bulls' slump continues

    The Bulls' loss was their seventh straight as they were left with a 19-37 record and in 11th in the Eastern Conference.

     

    Young from deep

    Young went eight-of-15 from three-point range in a dazzling display.

    Thursday's results

    Milwaukee Bucks 126-106 Detroit Pistons
    Atlanta Hawks 129-124 Miami Heat
    Philadelphia 76ers 112-104 Brooklyn Nets
    Charlotte Hornets 103-93 Chicago Bulls
    Sacramento Kings 129-125 Memphis Grizzlies
    Houston Rockets 135-105 Golden State Warriors

     

    Grizzlies at Lakers

    The Los Angeles Lakers (41-12) resume their campaign against the Memphis Grizzlies (28-27) at the Staples Center on Friday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.