NBA

Ja Morant accepts responsibility after Grizzlies' Game 1 loss against Warriors

By Sports Desk May 02, 2022

Ja Morant refused to give any credit to the Golden State Warriors defense after missing the potential game-winning layup in the Memphis Grizzlies 117-116 Game 1 loss.

Morant finished with 34 points on 14-of-31 shooting, while also adding nine rebounds and 10 assists, but clanked his layup hard off the backboard as time expired under a good contest from Klay Thompson.

Jordan Poole was the star of the show for the Warriors, coming off the bench to score 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting with eight rebounds and nine assists, stepping up to make up for Thompson's six-of-19 performance from the field.

Speaking with post-game media, Morant opted to not give any credit to Thompson's defense when prompted multiple times.

"It was the same message as every time we're in the situation – I just missed a layup," the All-Star said. 

When pressed on if Thompson's defense had any impact, Morant repeated his statement: "Nah, I just missed a layup."

Instead, Morant said where his side lost the contest was in the hustle categories that the Grizzlies usually excel in.

"We gave up too many second-chance points, we gave up [too many] fast-break points," he said. "That's definitely not what we want to be giving up, and it played a factor in this game.

"I feel like that's kind of where we messed up. We were running to the rim on their shots, and there were some long rebounds, 50-50 balls, you know we've got to come up with those against this team. We can't allow them second chances, or open looks, and they made us pay for it.

"We came out and fought – we had a lead, then went down, then got the lead back. Klay hit a big-time three, and I missed a layup. 

"Despite all that, we gave up 26 second-chance points and 18 fast-break points, and we lost by one. 

"It's nothing to hang our heads about – but obviously we've got to correct those things."

Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins did not want to let Jaren Jackson Jr's night go unnoticed either, as he posted a playoff career-high 33 points as the Defensive Player of the Year candidate sank six-of-nine three-pointers.

"[Morant and Jackson] were big for us tonight," Taylor said. "I thought as [the Warriors] changed their line-ups, we started utilising 'JJ' more in ball-screens – Ja was doing a great job finding him, and JJ capitalised. 

"It's going to be a great film to go back and watch to see where we were successful, and see where we weren't. But those two guys were bright spots for sure."

When asked about the plan on the last possession, Jenkins was adamant that he trusts his best player to decide the game.

"[We were looking for] Ja to go make a play," he said. "He had a great look, it just didn't happen to go in."

Related items

  • Zion getting $231m rookie max extension with Pelicans Zion getting $231m rookie max extension with Pelicans

    Zion Williamson is set to agree a five-year, $231million rookie max extension with the New Orleans Pelicans.

    The imminent deal was reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania on Friday, the second day of NBA free agency.

    A number of leading stars were given new deals on Thursday – including Nikola Jokic, Devin Booker and Ja Morant – and Williamson should now join them.

    The Pelicans are building an exciting young team, making the playoffs in 2021-22 and taking the number one seed Phoenix Suns to six games despite Williamson's injury absence.

    New Orleans could be forgiven for having some concerns about committing such a huge sum to Williamson, though.

    The former first overall pick has played only 85 games in three seasons in the NBA – albeit he has averaged 25.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

    Williamson has spoken of his desire to commit to the Pelicans, but Charania added this deal was expected to include "protections".

  • Ja Morant inks five-year rookie extension with Memphis Grizzlies worth up to $231m Ja Morant inks five-year rookie extension with Memphis Grizzlies worth up to $231m

    The face of the Memphis Grizzlies will be staying put for the foreseeable future after Ja Morant agreed to a five-year max rookie extension that will pay him at least $193million over five years. 

    The extension is the largest deal in franchise history and has the potential to reach up to $231m if Morant makes one of the league’s three All-NBA teams. The deal surpasses the five-year, $153 million contract Mike Conley signed with Memphis in 2016. 

    "Memphis is my home," Morant tweeted six minutes after midnight.  

    Morant took home the NBA’s Most Improved Player award and finished seventh in MVP voting after averaging 27.4 points and 6.7 assists per game this season. He earned his first All-Star appearance and was named second-team All-NBA after helping Memphis to a 56-26 record, matching the 2012-13 team for the most wins in franchise history. 

    He averaged 21.5 points, 10.5 assists and 8.7 rebounds as the Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in six games in the first round of the playoffs. He also scored a combined 115 points over the first three games in the next round against the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors, but missed the final three games with a bone bruise in his right knee.  

    He joins Jaren Jackson Jr. as members of the Grizzlies’ young core who are locked into long-term deals. Memphis has one of the league’s youngest rosters, and would appear to be set up to challenge for championships for the next few years.  

  • USC and UCLA receive approval to join the Big Ten USC and UCLA receive approval to join the Big Ten

    USC and UCLA could be joining the Big Ten Conference as soon as 2024 after league officials voted Thursday to approve the schools’ application for membership.  

    The move is just the latest in a wave of realignment among college football powers, moving away from the strictly regional model that had organized the sport for more than a century.  

    In two years, the Big Ten will stretch from coast to coast with campuses from California to New Jersey.  

    USC athletic director Mike Bohn called the conference "the best home for USC" in a statement on Thursday night. 

    "Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports," he said. "We also will benefit from the stability and strength of the conference." 

    UCLA chancellor Gene D. Block and AD Martin Jarmond also released a combined statement Thursday, announcing the move.  

    "Each school faces its own unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best move for UCLA at this time," they said. "For us, this move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come."  

    With Oklahoma and Texas scheduled to join the SEC and both L.A. rivals headed to the Big Ten, many pundits have predicted continued movement until two giant leagues contain all the sport’s traditional powers.  

    According to multiple reports, USC and UCLA initiated conversations with the Big Ten. The sides first met on Wednesday, with the unanimous membership vote coming just 24 hours later.  

    The Pac-12 loses two charter members while negotiating a new media rights deal and leaving the conference scrambling to keep up in the realignment arms race.  

    Since receiving news that Oklahoma and Texas were leaving, the Big 12 has arranged for new members in Cincinnati, UCF, Houston and BYU.  

    The Pac-12 will now likely look for new members of its own in order to keep up.  

    "While we are extremely surprised and disappointed by the news coming out of UCLA and USC today, we have a long and storied history in athletics, academics and leadership in supporting student-athletes that we're confident will continue to thrive and grow into the future," the Pac-12 said in a statement. 

    The Big Ten is currently negotiating its own media rights deal that is expected to exceed $1 billion annually.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.