Morant nets 31, leads Grizzlies to win in preseason finale

Oct 13, 2022, 7:01 AM | Updated: 8:46 pm

Oklahoma City Thunder's Luguentz Dort, left, goes to the basket while defended by San Antonio Spurs' Jeremy Sochan (10) and Keldon Johnson during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

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DETROIT (AP) — Ja Morant had 31 points and eight rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies closed out their preseason with a 126-111 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.

Desmond Bane went 1 for 7 from 3-point range and finished with 16 points for Memphis. Brandon Clarke also scored 16 points while playing extended minutes after starting center Stephen Adams left with a sore neck.

Saddiq Bey led the Pistons with 17 points and eight rebounds. Isaiah Stewart had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Cade Cunningham had 15 points and six assists. Kevin Knox II finished with 13 points as Detroit went winless in four preseason games.

The Pistons played without center Marvin Bagley III, who suffered a sprained MCL in the first minute of Tuesday’s loss to Oklahoma City. Bagley is expected to miss two to three weeks. Stewart started at center.

Both teams went with their usual starters in their final preseason game and stayed close to expected rotations through the first three quarters.

The Grizzlies used their backcourt duo of Morant and Bane for an offensive burst in the first half, while Stewart kept the Pistons close. Morant scored 15 points in the third as Memphis built its lead before Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins went to his reserves with three minutes left in the period and finished out the game.

Memphis rookies David Roddy and Jake LaRavia scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey, the fifth overall pick in the draft, had seven points, going 3 of 11 from the field, including missing all four of his 3-points attempts.

Adams was injured in a scrum under the Memphis basket and went straight to the locker room just before halftime. He didn’t return.

Memphis finished the preseason 3-2 and opens the season next Wednesday, hosting the New York Knicks. Detroit also opens the regular season on Wednesday, playing at home against the Orlando Magic.

THUNDER 118, SPURS 112

In San Antonio, rookie Jalen Williams, the 12th overall draft pick from Santa Clara, had 19 points and Josh Giddey added 18 and six assists as Oklahoma City pulled away at the end to beat the Spurs.

Tre Mann finished with 17 points for Oklahoma City. Jaylin Williams, the 34th pick out of Arkansas, grabbed 11 rebounds.

Joshua Primo, a first-round pick in the 2021 draft, had 23 points to lead San Antonio, converting 8 of 12 shots. Keldon Johnson added 19 points and Devin Vassell had 18.

San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl made all four of his shots and finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

The game was tight throughout the second half after the teams went into halftime tied at 62. From there, neither team managed to stretch its advantage to double digits.

The game was tied at 110 with 3:24 left, but San Antonio managed only two points the rest of the way.

The Spurs open the season at home on Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets. The Thunder start regular-season play the same night on the road in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.

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