NBA

Morant 'excited to be back' after game-winning turn on comeback

By Sports Desk December 20, 2023

Ja Morant is simply excited to be back on the court after he starred for the Memphis Grizzlies following the end of his eight-month absence from basketball.

Morant received a 25-game suspension from the NBA for conduct detrimental to the league back in June.

The two-time All-Star was banned for showing a firearm on social media, just three months after a similar offence.

However, Morant returned in style on Tuesday, finishing with 34 points, six rebounds and eight assists as the Grizzlies beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-113.

"I've been putting work in, man. I ain't played a game in eight months," said Morant, whose buzzer-beater won the game.

"I had a lot of time to learn myself. A lot of hard days where I went through it. But you know, basketball is my life, what I love, [it's] therapeutic for me. I'm just excited to be back.

"I've been working hard, but there's nothing like NBA basketball. I just had to lock in and push through; pretty much my life, you know, just continuing to push, no matter what."

Reflecting on his time away from the game, Morant added: "[My support system] showed me a lot of support. 

"They got on my a** a little bit, too. I felt like it was needed, not only during this process for me, but them as well to obviously learn from me.

"A lot of us make mistakes. I can see how [the situation] changed them as well. I don't wish it happened, but it definitely took me, my family, my team to the next level."

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins simply wanted Morant to enjoy the moment.

"My one expectation was for him to have fun," he said.

"That's how you want Ja to play, is play fast and free with the dynamic abilities."

The Grizzlies, who went 6-19 in the 25 games without Morant, snapped a five-game losing streak. They host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.

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