A Hollywood scriptwriter couldn’t have created a better ending to Ja Morant’s comeback game. After spending the first 25 games of the 2023-24 season in the sidelines, NBA fans around the world tuned in to see if Morant would be able to perform to the standard he’s been known for during the last few seasons. Well, he did just that and more as he led an epic 26-point turnaround that saw the Memphis Grizzlies beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-113 after being down by as much as 24 points.
The icing on the cake was that Morant, who’s been taking grief from everyone while he’s been on the sidelines, hit the game-winning shot. He did it in dramatic fashion, too, by driving into the hoop and using a spin move to create a little space before hanging in the air to hit a double-clutch shot that hit back iron before falling into the cup as time expired. Oh, and he scored 27 points in the second half to lead the rally that gave them a chance to win.
That shot put him at 34 points, six rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and five turnovers. He hit 12 of 24 of his field goal attempts, missing all five three-pointers but also hitting 10 of 12 free throws. Sure, it’s only one game, but Morant showed the Grizzlies what they had been missing in their terrible 6-19 start to the season.
Morant was clearly happy with how things went in his postgame interview, and why wouldn’t he be?
It will take a lot more of these games before Morant’s suspension will be forgotten, but at the very least, he’s given the Grizzlies hope that they can turn things around. With a little over a quarter of the season in the books, Memphis are now 7-19 and have their best player back on the floor.
Stranger things have happened in the NBA, and it would be good to remember that the LA Lakers started 2-10 last season before making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season. The West is more competitive in this campaign, but a couple of good streaks could bring the Grizzlies right back into the play-in or guaranteed playoff spots.
People won’t stop clowning Ja for his bad choices off the court for a while, but Grizzlies fans will certainly be elated to have him back. He’s also fortunate that Draymond Green has now taken the collective ire of the media and fans with his recent violent outbursts and lengthy suspension. If Morant can keep himself from getting into any more trouble, then he’s got a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the public by continuing to play well.