Morant’s slam in Indy highlights Grizzlies’ 9th straight win

Jan 14, 2023, 4:45 AM | Updated: 7:44 pm
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) shoots around Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) during...

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) shoots around Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

              Memphis Grizzlies forward Ziaire Williams (8) hangs from the rim after dunking during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
            
              Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) shoots over Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
            
              Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, left, is fouled by Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
            
              Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams (4) shoots over Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
            
              Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) shoots around Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ja Morant had 23 points, 10 assists and another ferocious dunk, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Indiana Pacers 130-112 on Saturday night to extend the NBA’s longest current winning streak to nine games.

Desmond Bane scored 25 points to lead the Grizzlies, who tied Denver for the Western Conference’s best record at 29-13.

Neither Bane nor Morant was needed in the fourth quarter. Morant’s soaring slam over Jalen Smith made it a 20-point game with 4:20 left in the third, and Memphis led by as much as 34 in the fourth.

Asked if the dunk was his best, Morant said, “Yeah, easy” because of the difficulty, then added, “It’s what everybody has been waiting for. I finally made it.”

Added Bane: “I ain’t seen nothing like that one. That’s probably going to go down as dunk of the year.”

The game was tied in the second quarter before Memphis outscored the Pacers 27-11 to take a 68-52 lead at halftime. Morant had five points and four assists during that span.

“Obviously we’re having fun out there, playing hard and playing together,” said Bane, who grew up in Richmond, Indiana.

Santi Aldama added 17 points and Ziaire Williams 13 for the Grizzlies.

“We’re not playing perfect basketball,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said of the streak. “I’m just glad our guys are finding different ways to win, whether we’re playing with a lead or playing from behind. Each game has presented a different challenge for us and our guys have stayed the course.”

Reserve guard Chris Duarte scored 25 points for the Pacers. Rookie Bennedict Mathurin had 16 and T.J. McConnell 13.

“That very well may be the best team on the planet right now,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “They’re very hard to play.”

The Pacers, missing two starters, have lost three in a row. Point guard Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana’s leading scorer and NBA assist leader, is expected to miss two weeks after sustaining a left elbow strain and left knee contusion on Wednesday. Center Myles Turner, who averages 17 points, is out with back spasms.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Morant has averaged 28.7 points during the streak. … Have won four in a row on the road to improve to 11-10 in away games.

Pacers: Duarte angrily exited in the second quarter with a sore left hand and used his right hand to knock over a chair. He returned midway through the third.

UP NEXT

Grizzlies: Host Phoenix on Monday.

Pacers: Visit Milwaukee on Monday.

___

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

Associated Press

2nd ex-NC State athlete sues school in sexual abuse case

A second former North Carolina State athlete sued the school Wednesday alleging he was sexually abused by the Wolfpack’s former director of sports medicine under the guise of treatment. The lawsuit filed in federal court accuses Robert Murphy Jr. of improperly touching the athlete’s genitals and elsewhere between two separate occasions in 2016. The plaintiff’s […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Joshua Williams (23) intercepts the ball against the Cincinnati Benga...
Associated Press

Unheralded group of Chiefs get redemption in Super Bowl hunt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have some of the biggest names in the NFL, from Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to Chris Jones and JuJu Smith-Schuster, yet they’re playing in their third Super Bowl in four years largely because they refused to give up on players only their most-passionate fans know […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Eagles backup lineman accused of rape ahead of Super Bowl

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (AP) — Josh Sills, a backup offensive lineman for the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles, has been indicted on rape and kidnapping charges that stem from an incident in Ohio just over three years ago, authorities said Wednesday. Sills, an undrafted free agent who was on the inactive list in Philadelphia’s conference title victory […]
2 days ago
FILE - Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule looks on before an NFL football game against the San...
Associated Press

AP source: Rhule files $5M arbitration suit vs. Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule has filed an arbitration suit with the NFL against the Carolina Panthers seeking about $5 million in offset severance compensation, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Rhule was fired as Panthers head coach on Oct. 10. He has since […]
2 days ago
Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart tries to score during the first half of a WNBA basketball gam...
Associated Press

Stewart heads to New York on first day of WNBA free agency

Former MVP Breanna Stewart is headed to New York. The most coveted free agent this offseason, who won the WNBA MVP award in 2018, announced on social media that she was going to New York with a photo of her in a Liberty shirt on Wednesday. Stewart had spent her entire career in Seattle since […]
2 days ago
Pittsburg quarterback Jaden Rashada (5) is pressured by Liberty's Grant Buckey (72) during the seco...
Associated Press

4-star QB Rashada commits to Arizona State after UF NIL flap

Blue-chip quarterback Jaden Rashada, who signed with Florida in December and then asked to be released from the commitment when a name, imagine and likeness deal fell through, says he is going to Arizona State. Rashada announced on Twitter on Wednesday, the first day of the traditional signing period for high school football players, that […]
2 days ago
Morant’s slam in Indy highlights Grizzlies’ 9th straight win