Ja Morant scored 28 of his 39 points in the third quarter and added 10 assists and 10 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies beat Los Angeles 121-109 on Tuesday night in the Lakers’ first game since LeBron James injured his right foot.
Morant made 10 of 12 shots in the highest-scoring quarter ever by a Grizzlies player.
‘I was just feeling it,’ Morant said. ‘I got going and was able to keep it rolling and put us in a good position to win the game.’
Xavier Tillman finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, while Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane scored 16 points apiece.
‘Obviously, Ja had a special third quarter,’ Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. ‘He was just in attack mode.’
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers
Morant scores a ferocious dunk as the Lakers defenders look on during the game in Memphis
The Lakers matched their season high with 26 turnovers, leading to 41 Memphis points – a Grizzlies franchise record. Memphis also dominated the paint, outscoring Los Angeles 86-48 and added 33 fast-break points.
‘A lot of that was cause and effect with our turnovers,’ Los Angeles coach Darvin Ham said, adding: ‘They just forced their will on us in the paint.’
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points and 19 rebounds, while Lonnie Walker IV scored 21 points. Austin Reaves had 17, while matching his season high with four 3-pointers.
‘The turnovers are what killed us,’ Davis said.
Morant’s burst broke open a close game and gave the Grizzlies a 93-84 advantage entering the fourth. He had made only three of his 14 attempts in the first half. He was 12 of 15 in the final two quarters.
‘I wouldn’t say it’s flipping the switch,’ Morant said. ‘It’s just the shots I missed in the first half, I made in the second half.’
Memphis would click off eight straight points to take the first double-digit lead in the game as Brandon Clarke scored on a dunk off the Lakers’ 22nd turnover with 9:14 left. The lead would eventually reach 106-92 with about nine minutes left.
But using a 3-point shooting streak, the Lakers cut the Memphis lead to 110-106 on a three-point play by Davis. Memphis answered by stretching the lead back to 118-106, enough to claim its second straight victory.
Morant takes a shot during the victory against the Clippers at FedEx Forum in Memphis
James’ injury, suffered in Sunday’s win over Dallas, left the Lakers without their leading scorer at 29.7 points per game. They don’t know how long he will be out.
Los Angeles shot 37 percent and Memphis 33 percent in the first half. The Grizzlies held a six-point lead, the biggest of the half for either team.
‘At halftime, my teammates just kept encouraging me. Just telling me to keep going,’ Morant said. ‘I told them I wasn’t going to miss too many more.’
BUCKS 118, NETS 104
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 15 rebounds as Milwaukee beat Brooklyn for its 15th straight victory.
Jrue Holiday had 14 points and eight assists for the Bucks, who went 10-0 in February and have passed Boston for the best record in the NBA. They got Antetokounmpo back after he missed their home victory over Phoenix on Sunday with a bruised right quadriceps.
Mikal Bridges led Brooklyn with 31 points. Spencer Dinwiddie had 26 points and eight assists.
Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) celebrates with his teammates as they are substituted
SPURS 102, JAZZ 94
Keldon Johnson scored 23 points and San Antonio beat Utah to snap a 16-game losing streak.
Doug McDermott added 19 points for the Spurs, Jeremy Sochan had 13 and Devonte Graham 12. San Antonio improved to 15-47, winning for the first time this season after trailing to start the fourth quarter.
Lauri Markkanen had 28 points and nine rebounds for Utah.
San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) shoots over Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler
NUGGETS 133, ROCKETS 112
Nikola Jokic had his 100th career triple-double and Jamal Murray scored 32 points in Denver’s victory over Houston.
Jokic had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his NBA-leading 24th triple-double this season and 15th in the last 20 games.
Michael Porter Jr. added 17 points and Bruce Brown had 15 off the bench to help the Nuggets to their second consecutive victory and sixth in the last seven games.
Jalen Green and Tari Eason each scored 17 points for Houston. The Rockets dropped their 10th in a row.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (right) shoots as Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun
PACERS 124, MAVERICKS 122
Tyrese Haliburton scored 32 points and won a duel of birthday boys with Luka Doncic, leading Indiana past Dallas.
Doncic had 39 points and nine rebounds on his 24th birthday but fell to 1-4 in games with Kyrie Irving since the superstars were paired in a deal with Brooklyn before the trade deadline.
Irving scored 16 points, but his 3-pointer just before the buzzer was the last of five misses from deep in the final two minutes with Dallas trailing by two.
The 23-year-old Haliburton, born on Feb. 29, 2000, was 9 of 18 from the field and 12 of 15 on free throws while adding seven rebounds and six assists.
Tyrese Haliburton of the Pacers drives to the basket against Justin Holiday of the Mavericks
WIZARDS 119, HAWKS 116
Washington spoiled Quin Snyder’s Atlanta coaching debut, getting 37 points from Bradley Beal and 28 from Kyle Kuzma in a victory over the Hawks.
Trae Young led Atlanta with 31 points.
Snyder spent eight seasons as Utah’s coach before resigning last June after the Jazz were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.
The 56-year-old Snyder says he left coaching to spend more time with his family, but the chance to lead the talented but enigmatic Hawks lured him back to the sideline sooner than expected.
Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) gestures toward the Atlanta Hawks bench after hitting a shot
KINGS 123, THUNDER 117
Harrison Barnes scored 29 points and Sacramento beat Oklahoma City for its fourth consecutive victory.
Domantas Sabonis had 22 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists and Kevin Huerter added 20 points for the Kings. They also beat the Thunder on Sunday night.
Thunder rookie Jalen Williams matched a season high with 27 points. Dario Saric, a reserve forward/center the Thunder acquired in a trade with Phoenix before the All-Star break, had a season-high 21 points. But Oklahoma City shot just 43.9 percent in its fourth straight loss.
Kings Harrison Barnes (40) drives against Oklahoma City Thunder Kenrich Williams (34)
RAPTORS 104, BULLS 98
Pascal Siakam scored 20 points, Gary Trent Jr. had 19 as Toronto beat Chicago for its eighth victory in 10 games.
O.G. Anunoby added 17 points and Jakob Poeltl had 14 to help the Raptors win their fourth straight at home.
Nikola Vucevic led Chicago with 23 points and Zach LaVine had 17. DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points against his former team.
Pascal Siakam #43 of the Raptors shoots the ball during the game against the Chicago Bulls
WARRIORS 123, TRAIL BLAZERS 105
Jordan Poole had 29 points, six assists and five rebounds, Klay Thompson scored 23 points as the Golden State Warriors rallied past Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers, 123-105 on Tuesday night.
Lillard had 25 points and seven assists to follow up his franchise-record and career-best 71-point masterpiece against the Rockets on Sunday night, when his 13 3-pointers were one shy of Thompson’s NBA record.
Lillard was whistled for three quick fouls after halftime and Portland unsuccessfully challenged his fourth personal.
The Warriors capitalized on every chance during their decisive 39-point third quarter, taking the lead for good on Thompson’s 3-pointer with 1:46 left in the period on the way to winning a fourth straight at home and eighth in nine.
Poole’s jumper with 6:14 to play in the third got Golden State within 74-67, then Thompson’s jumper at 4:59 made it a two-point game as Golden State came back from 23 down after losing 125-122 in Portland on February 8.
Jordan Poole (No. 3) of the Warriors looks to pass the ball during the game against Trail Blazers
TIMBERWOLVES 108, CLIPPERS 101
Jaden McDaniels scored 20 points, Anthony Edwards added 18 and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Clippers 108-101 on Tuesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
McDaniels scored at least 20 points for the fourth time this season.
Paul George had 25 points and Kawhi Leonard 23 for the Clippers, who have dropped three straight. Los Angeles’ last two losses before Tuesday came in overtime, including a 176-175 double-overtime loss Friday night to Sacramento in the second highest-scoring game in NBA history.
Jaden McDaniels of the Timberwolves dribbles the ball during the game against the Clippers