NBA

Morant career-best points haul against Bulls partly inspired by Jordan

By Sports Desk February 27, 2022

All-Star Ja Morant scored a career-high 46 points as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Chicago Bulls at United Center, and later attributed his achievement in part to Bulls legend Michael Jordan.

Saturday's encounter saw the Grizzlies win 116-110 to move to 42-20, while the Bulls are 39-22.

Steven Adams also hit 12 points with a season-high 21 rebounds for Memphis, while DeMar DeRozan extended his 30-point streak to 10 games with a 31-point haul as the Bulls' six-game win streak came to an end.

After the game, Morant was asked if he had seen the highlights video played in the arena of Jordan's most memorable moments.

"I did watch it," he said. "And then, I did start scoring a lot. It probably played a part in it."

The 22-year-old made 15 of 28 field goal attempts, sank three shots from beyond the arc and made 13 out of 15 free throws.

His 46-point haul comes just 10 days after he racked up 44 against the Portland Trail Blazers, and makes it 16 games in a row in which he has scored at least 20 points.

"I've seen too many [incredible performances]. Kinda boring now," Grizzlies team-mate Adams said jokingly. "He's such an amazing player."

Morant also went on to praise the effort of his team, saying: "They gotta be recognised for the job they do for us on the floor. Obviously we had a lot of guys who contributed big for us tonight.

"[Desmond Bane] hit a big-time three, Kyle [Anderson] with the stops on the defensive end, Steve being the man inside the paint, Tyus [Jones] stepping up and hitting big free throws, and so on down the line.

"Obviously without them, we probably wouldn't have been in that position, so a lot of credit has to go to my team-mates."

Related items

  • Women's Euros: Spain's Putellas a doubt for tournament after suffering knee injury Women's Euros: Spain's Putellas a doubt for tournament after suffering knee injury

    Spain's Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas faces a race to be fit for the Women's European Championship after suffering a knee injury ahead of their opener against Finland.

    Barcelona captain Putellas finished as the Champions League's top goalscorer with 11 goals last season, also ending her domestic campaign with 18 league goals. 

    Putellas, who has scored 27 goals in 100 international appearances and also picked up FIFA's The Best Women's Player award in 2021, was expected to provide creativity from out wide for La Roja, but could now miss out on Euro 2022.

    "Alexia Putellas suffered a sprain in her left knee during the session on Tuesday, July 5," read an update from the side's official Twitter account.

    "Medical tests will determine the extent of the injury."

    Spain are already without one key player for the competition, which begins when England face Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday, after they lost record goalscorer Jennifer Hermoso to a ligament injury.

    Featuring a plethora of players from a Barcelona team that won all 30 of their domestic league games last season, Spain are considered to be among the favourites for glory in England, but must come through a tough-looking Group B which also features Germany and Denmark.  

    La Roja open their campaign against Finland at Stadium MK on Friday.

  • Wimbledon: Maria makes first major semi-final at 34 after ending Niemeier's dream run Wimbledon: Maria makes first major semi-final at 34 after ending Niemeier's dream run

    Tatjana Maria's late-career Wimbledon charge continued into the semi-finals after she rallied past Jule Niemeier in the last eight on Tuesday.

    The 34-year-old's best grand slam run before last week had taken her only as far as round three at the All England Club in 2015, but she is now one win away from a Centre Court final after edging Niemeier in an entertaining 4-6 6-2 7-5 triumph.

    Niemeier, at the opposite end of her career at 22, was making her main-draw Wimbledon debut and had looked on course to ride her momentum into the last four.

    In only the third all-German grand slam quarter-final of the Open Era, Maria's nerves showed in the first set as she immediately dropped serve and was unable to recover.

    But after quickly being broken again at the start of the second, the veteran seized control, battling back as Niemeier appeared to lose her composure.

    The decider could have gone either way, with one crucial point going in Maria's favour as Niemeier dived headfirst after a drop shot at the end of a 13-stroke rally, yet experience told at the last.

    Data slam: Mother Maria in fine company

    Maria gave birth to her second daughter just 15 months ago, but she has returned better than ever and joined esteemed company with a semi-final appearance at 34.

    She is just the sixth female player in the Open Era to make the last four at Wimbledon after her 34th birthday, alongside Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Meanwhile, Mirjana Lucic (2017 Australian Open) is the only other European player to achieve that feat at any of the majors.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Maria – 26/37
    Niemeier – 39/54

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Maria – 4/7
    Niemeier – 3/11

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Maria – 5/7
    Niemeier – 3/9

  • Galtier to end PSG's rotation of Donnarumma and Navas Galtier to end PSG's rotation of Donnarumma and Navas

    New Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier has pledged to end predecessor Mauricio Pochettino's practice of rotating between goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma and Keylor Navas. 

    Galtier was announced as PSG's new head coach on Tuesday, with the former Lille and Nice boss signing a two-year deal with the club.

    The man who beat PSG to the Ligue 1 title when in charge of Lille during the 2020-21 season takes over a squad containing two world-class goalkeepers in Italy's Euro 2020 hero Donnarumma and three-time Champions League winner Navas.

    Pochettino used both goalkeepers often during his one full season in charge of the Parisian giants, with Navas making 26 appearances in all competitions and Donnarumma featuring 24 times.

    Donnarumma managed one clean sheet more (nine) than Navas did (eight) despite making two appearances fewer, while the two goalkeepers posted similar save percentage figures (Navas saving 75.76 per cent of shots faced compared to the Italian's 75.27 per cent).

    Speaking at his unveiling, Galtier argued having a nominated first-choice shot stopper would provide greater clarity.

    "I always work with a number one and a number two," he said. 

    "It's easier for me and for them to know their position within the squad. I haven't met them yet, but I will do it very quickly."

    PSG conceded 36 goals when winning Ligue 1 last season, the joint-fewest in the league alongside Galtier's former club Nice, who registered one more clean sheet (14) than the champions.  

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.