Morant scores 37 points, Grizzlies hold off Knicks 118-114 | Radio WGN 720


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Ja Morant scored a rally in the fourth quarter by scoring 15 of his 37 points in the period to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 118-114 win over the New York Knicks on Friday night.

Ziaire Williams and Jaren Jackson Jr. each finished with 13 points, with Jackson adding five blocks as part of a season-high 16 for Memphis, which won its second straight. Three of Jackson’s blocks came in the fourth as the Grizzlies outscored the Knicks 31-18.

“Jaren is what everyone needs to be excited about,” Morant said. “His defensive presence was important for us. We are a totally different team with him out there on the pitch. He stimulated us.

Julius Randle led the Knicks with 36 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, while RJ Barrett finished with 23 points. Alec Burks added 18 points for New York, which saw its three-game winning streak snapped.

In a game that featured 22 lead changes and eight draws, the teams were still trading advantages midway through the fourth. Trailing 106-105 with 3:54 left, Morant scored 10 straight points for Memphis to give the Grizzlies a 115-108 lead with about a minute remaining. The Grizzlies held on despite some foul shooting issues at the end.

“A guy like that, you have to put him to work,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of Morant. “He took 33 hits, so he’s going to get something.”

But the Knicks coach also pointed to New York’s 16 turnovers in addition to blocked shots.

“A lot of those (blocks) were on break when (the Grizzlies) really hustled their way back and played on the ball,” Thibodeau said.

The Grizzlies, who beat New York 120-108 at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 2, are trying to keep pace with Golden State for second place in the West. The win gave Memphis a half game against the Warriors, who were inactive Friday night.

New York, which had shooting problems in the first half, immediately turned the tide at the break by hitting nine of its first 12 shots in the second half. It contributed to a 14-1 run, erasing Memphis’ advantage. The Knicks would eventually outrun the Grizzlies 40-26 in the period, carrying a 96-87 lead into the final frame.

But Thibodeau noted his team’s inability to prevent Memphis from chipping away at New York’s 15-point lead in the third was where the game turned.

“We didn’t close the third (quarter),” the Knicks coach said. “It was a big deal because it gave them life.”

It provided the momentum that Memphis and Morant used to get ahead and overtake the Knicks in the final stretch. In addition to holding New York to 18 points in the fourth, the Knicks shot just 27%, including missing four of their five 3-point attempts.

“Giving up a 40-point quarter in that third and then locking in the fourth, I thought (Jackson) was a big part of that,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.


Knicks forward Cam Reddish’s injury will cause him to miss the rest of the season. Reddish injured his right shoulder against Sacramento on Monday. “We knew it was serious, but we’re happy he didn’t have to have surgery,” Thibodeau said before the game. ” It’s a good sign. It’s an unfortunate part of the game. We’re just focusing on rehabilitation now.


Knicks: New York has played without a number of players, including Nerlens Noel, Derrick Rose and Reddish. Obi Toppin, who was on the questionable list earlier on Friday, missed his fifth straight game with left hamstring strain. … Barrett and Randle were a combined 10 of 27 in the first half. … C Mitchell Robinson finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds – including eight offensive boards.

Grizzlies: The victory gave Memphis a sweep of the Knicks for the first time since the 2015-16 season. … G/F Dillon Brooks, who has missed the last 26 games with a sprained left ankle, looks set to return. He’s been through 5-on-5 sessions and should return “sometime on this next road trip,” Jenkins said Friday. … Memphis, which leads the league in points in the paint at 57.6 per game, had 72 against the Knicks. … Recorded 10 interceptions, right at their league-leading average.


Knicks: Play in Brooklyn on Sunday.

Grizzlies: Open a four-game road trip to Oklahoma City on Sunday.

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