All-Star Morant has triple-double, Grizzlies beat Jazz

Jan 28, 2022, 5:53 AM | Updated: 9:17 pm
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against ...

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Ja Morant had 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Memphis Grizzlies pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Utah Jazz 119-109 on Friday night.

It was the highest-scoring triple-double in franchise history and the fourth overall for Morant, Memphis’ third-year point guard who was named an All-Star starter on Thursday. He scored at least 30 points for the fifth consecutive game.

“I think the win was more important, but I guess the triple-double was needed to get the win,” Morant said. “All in all, it was a good night.”

Brandon Clarke added 22 points for Memphis, while Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 18 points and matched his season high with six blocks. Desmond Bane added 17 for the Grizzlies.

Morant hit Clarke for several alley-oops in the third quarter as Memphis extended its lead.

“(Clarke) is super athletic,” Morant said. “All I know is if I’m on a break and he’s running that wing, it’s pretty much just try to make the defender commit to the ball and just throw it in the air. I know he’ll go get it.”

Danuel House Jr., on his second 10-day contract, led the short-handed Jazz with 21 points, while Mike Conley finished with 15 points and six assists. Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson had 13 points each for Utah, which lost its fourth straight and 10th of 12.

“We’re playing with much a more urgent mindset,” Conley said. “Playing harder. Guys are giving everything we’ve got with who we’ve got out there. At some point, we’re going to break through. Things are going to start falling our way.

“We feel like we are getting closer and closer to being back to who we are.”

The Grizzlies maintained their hold on third place in the Western Conference, moving 3 1/2 games in front of the fourth-place Jazz.

Memphis led by as many as 14 points before its advantage began evaporating midway through the fourth quarter. The Jazz moved within 105-101 when Royce O’Neale connected on a 3-pointer with 4:40 left.

But Utah got no closer as Memphis built its lead back to double digits.

Utah was missing Donovan Mitchell (concussion) and Rudy Gobert (left calf strain). The pair averages a combined 41.5 points and 19.1 rebounds.

“We competed our tails off,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “There was a lot of size on the floor, and we didn’t have a lot of it. We battled. … We’re right there. And that was after being down double digits at various times. These guys are leaving it out there, and that’s what we want to do.

“That’s going to help us get better. And when guys come back, they have to be just as competitive. We played like a hungry team.”

CONLEY ON GRIZZLIES

Conley played his first 12 seasons for Memphis and has seen noticeable improvement in the Grizzlies since last season, when Utah eliminated Memphis 4-1 in the opening round of the playoffs.

“I think maturity is playing a part in it,” Conley said. “I think them getting a taste of what it’s like to play at that level, allowed them to go into the summer understanding what they needed to do in order to be back and competitive in that nature. … They’re for real, and they’re going to be a tough team.”

LAST WORD

Asked his reaction when Morant was announced as an All-Star starter, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins replied: “I yelled out ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ multiple times.”

TIP-INS

Jazz: Four years after leaving Memphis, Conley still is beloved in the city. After the fans cheered Conley during introductions, they immediately resorted to boos for Joe Ingles. … Mitchell missed his sixth straight game and Gobert his third.

Grizzlies: Jackson also had six blocks against San Antonio on Wednesday and has 45 over his last 11 games. … Memphis hadn’t won a home game over the Jazz since Jan. 15, 2019. … A video celebrating Morant’s first All-Star selection drew a standing ovation during the first timeout.

UP NEXT

Jazz: At Minnesota on Sunday.

Grizzlies: Host Washington on Saturday.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Philadelphia Phillies' Kyle Schwarber celebrates after the Phillies won a baseball game against the...
Associated Press

Third wild card creates opportunity for another playoff team

The Philadelphia Phillies grabbed baseball’s last playoff ticket on Monday, and Bryce Harper and company partied into the night. ” We’re in! We did it! We did it! ” slugger Rhys Hoskins yelled as the celebration kicked into high gear. It’s the first playoff appearance for Philly since 2011, and no one seemed to care […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Rebecca Vardy to pay $1.7M in costs after losing court fight

LONDON (AP) — Rebekah Vardy, the wife of English soccer player Jamie Vardy, has to pay about 1.5 million pounds ($1.7 million) in legal costs to fellow soccer spouse Coleen Rooney after losing the high-profile libel lawsuit she brought against Rooney. Vardy, 40, lost her libel claim against Rooney, 36, in July when a judge […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Tiger Woods follows his ball at the fourth tee during the last round of the Hero World Chall...
Associated Press

Tiger Woods yet to announce if he joins strong Bahamas field

Tiger Woods has another loaded field for his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Woods on Tuesday announced 17 players for the 20-man field, and all but four are from the top 21 in the world ranking. Still to be announced is whether the player at No. 1,195 in the world — Woods — will […]
13 hours ago
Umpire crew chief Todd Tichenor announces the outcome of a play review during a baseball game betwe...
Associated Press

Beyond the grunt: Umpires mic up, and baseball changes a bit

NEW YORK (AP) — After a century and a half of Major League Baseball — after generations of grunts and growls, of muffled shouts and dramatic arm gestures and a cultivated sense of remoteness — something quietly extraordinary happened to the national pastime this year: The umpires began talking to the world. On April 5, […]
13 hours ago
FILE — USA athletes cast the rock to sweep and curl while competing at the U.S. Olympic Curling T...
Associated Press

USA Curling: CEO prioritized athlete safety as head of NWSL

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — USA Curling says CEO Jeff Plush “acted in accordance with prioritizing the safety of athletes” during his tenure as leader of the National Women’s Soccer League, where an investigation uncovered years of systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct. The curling board met Monday after a report on the independent investigation into […]
2 days ago
FILE - Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper speaks during an NHL hockey media day before Game ...
Associated Press

Cup loss aside, the NHL’s East still runs through Tampa Bay

Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning are accustomed to short offseasons. This one, the Lightning captain said, “wasn’t as fun as the previous two.” The Stanley Cup relocated to Colorado after the Avalanche dethroned the two-time defending champion Lightning in a six-game final in July. The Eastern Conference, however, still seems very likely to […]
2 days ago
All-Star Morant has triple-double, Grizzlies beat Jazz