NBA

NBA playoffs 2021: Morant not interested in records despite history-making 47-point playoffs haul

By Sports Desk May 27, 2021

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant is not interested in records despite making history with 47 points in his side's 141-129 Game 2 defeat to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

The Jazz levelled their NBA first round playoffs series at 1-1 despite Morant's remarkable haul, with the 21-year-old having led the Grizzlies to victory in Game 1 with 26 points.

Morant became the second youngest player in playoffs history to score 45 or more points, behind only LeBron James in 2006 (45 points vs Washington).

It also meant Morant scored the most points all-time by a player aged 21 or younger in a playoff game, Stats Perform confirmed.

Asked about whether he takes anything from such records, Morant told a post-game news conference: "Not at all. I'm blessed to be in a position I'm in and to be able to play the game at the highest level, but that's not on my mind at all. We lost."

Utah led by 20 points at half-time on Wednesday but Morant and the Grizzlies fought back with a 43-29 third quarter, closing within two in the last, before falling short.

Morant was busy throughout, with 15-from-26 from the field, while he was fouled throughout including a few tangles with Jazz center Rudy Gobert, making 15-from-20 from the stripe.

"I'm not afraid," Morant said. "That's the job to protect the rim. My job when I'm attacking the rim is to go finish.

"He [Gobert] made a good block but as you'd seen throughout the game, I was right back in the paint."

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who returned from an ankle injury with 25 points, was full of praise for Morant.

"Give credit to Ja, he had 50 [47]," Mitchell said post-game. "He's a hell of a player. I respect the hell out of his game.

"He fought but we fought. It's 1-1, they came here and stole one. We need to take care of business."

The series now moves to Memphis with back-to-back home games for the Grizzlies.

Related items

  • Wizards hire interim head coach Keefe on full-time basis Wizards hire interim head coach Keefe on full-time basis

    The Washington Wizards gave interim head coach Brian Keefe the permanent job on Wednesday.

    “We are excited for Brian to become our next head coach. Brian is a proven motivator and connector of people,” Wizards general manager Will Dawkins said.

    “As a leader in the organisation, he will continue to positively grow and invest into the development of our players.

    “His wealth of experience will help move our team forward as we build for long-term sustained success.”

    Keefe was promoted to head coach on January 25 after Wes Unseld Jr. left the sidelines and moved into a front office advisory role.

    Washington was 7-36 at the time and went 8-31 under Keefe to finish with the second-worst record in the NBA at 15-67.

    The Wizards own the No. 2 overall selection in June’s NBA Draft.

  • Los Angeles Clippers extend head coach Lue Los Angeles Clippers extend head coach Lue

    Tyronn Lue is staying with the Los Angeles Clippers after agreeing to a new long-term contract, the team announced Wednesday. 

    Terms of the agreement are not yet known, though ESPN reports Lue's new deal will make him among the NBA's highest-paid coaches.

    Lue, who has compiled a 184-134 record in four seasons with the Clippers, was rumoured to be a candidate for the head coaching vacancy of Los Angeles' other franchise, the Lakers. That speculated scenario would have reunited the 47-year-old with LeBron James, whom Lue previously coached during a successful run with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    The Cavaliers' lone NBA championship came during the 2015-16 season, when Lue replaced David Blatt at mid-season and guided a team anchored by James and Kyrie Irving past the Golden State Warriors in seven games in a memorable NBA Finals.

    Lue also found immediate success after replacing Doc Rivers with the Clippers prior to the 2020-21 season, as the team reached the Western Conference finals before bowing out to the Phoenix Suns in six games.

    The Clippers have not won a play-off series in Lue's subsequent three seasons, though they finished fourth in the West with a 51-31 record in 2023-24. The Clippers were defeated in six games in the opening round by the Dallas Mavericks, who later advanced to the conference finals and currently own a 3-1 lead on the Minnesota Timberwolves in that series.

    Lue is 312-217 during the regular season and 54-37 in play-off games over eight overall seasons as a head coach. The former NBA point guard also helped the Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals in 2017 and 2018, when they lost to the Warriors both times.

    Cleveland fired Lue following an 0-6 start to the 2018-19 season, the team's first after James left the Cavaliers for a second time to sign with the Lakers.

    With Lue now under contract, the Clippers can now turn their attention towards attempting to keep their star core of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden together. Harden is a free agent this offseason and George could become one by declining his $48.8 million player option, which he's widely expected to do. 

  • Edwards credits Towns as bounce-back performance keeps Timberwolves alive Edwards credits Towns as bounce-back performance keeps Timberwolves alive

    Anthony Edwards credited Karl-Anthony Towns after he halted his slump to keep the Minnesota Timberwolves alive in their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Minnesota held off a late Dallas rally for a 105-100 road win, forcing a Game 5 in Minneapolis on Thursday.

    That came after a difficult start to the series for the four-time All-Star, with coach Chris Finch saying it was "hard to watch" his struggles in Game 3.

    Towns shot just 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, but was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range on Tuesday.

    Edwards, who narrowly missed out on a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, said Towns was the primary reason the Timberwolves retained hope of an NBA Finals berth. 

    "Everything came together for him; he was super confident," Edwards said of Towns. 

    "He played exceptionally well, and he came through big-time. He was the reason we won tonight."

    Finch echoed Edwards' praise, saying: "KAT's a great player. His struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going. 

    "Even when he got deep in foul trouble, we left him out there, just let him roll, and he played smart, played under control, rebounded really well for us, executed defensively. We're really proud of him. Tonight was a great step for him."

    While it was Towns' efforts that gave Minnesota a lead to defend, it was Edwards who made certain of the victory with a mid-range jumper after the Mavs pulled within three points just over a minute before the buzzer. 

    Towns, who fouled out with one minute and 38 seconds on the clock, said of his team-mate's game-sealing shot: "I was on the bench and had a front-row seat. I feel like he was visualising that make and he got to exactly the spot he wanted to.

    "I'm honoured to be playing with my brother here, seeing him every day put the work in, and I knew when he got to that shot it was a high likelihood he was going to make that."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.