Ja Morant’s First Career Triple Double Leads The Memphis Grizzlies To Comeback Win Over The Washington Wizards

Anthony Sain

The Memphis Grizzlies seemed set to lose against the Washington Wizards down 85-75 in the final minute of the third quarter but Ja Morant would tap into 'Fourth Quarter Ja' in the game's final frame to push his team past the Wizards 106-99. Morant would score 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He would finish the game with his first career triple-double with 27 points 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Grizzlies had an abysmal night from the field only shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 15.6 percent from three-point range.  Washington, who has one of the worst defenses in the league held the Grizzlies to an uncharacteristic 47 points in the first half but the Grizzlies would crank it up in the second half before pulling away in the fourth quarter.

My Thoughts On The Grizzlies Win Over The Wizards

Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins On Ja Morant's Performance

"Yeah, I mean, huge," said Jenkins. "I mean, we always talk about how he sometimes analyzes the defense. Teams are starting to go under him a little bit more so it's on him. It's on our screeners to do a little bit [of a] better job. They kind of took us out of our rhythm. We weren't playing at the pace that we needed, let alone full court but in the half-court. But then he just saw some windows, just got out there, we start getting some stops. Defense really fuels us." 

"He was able to get downhill, make some big-time finishes, you know, big-time playmaking, passes out to guys," Jenkins would add on Morant. "Those connections late in the game. With Kyle [Anderson] as a pick-and-roll screener which we haven't used a whole lot. Him getting downhill to score but then finding Kyle late you know when they started double-teaming him or switching on him. It was huge."

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© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ja Morant On Triple Double

It feels good," said Morant. "Obviously, a lot of credit goes to my teammates. Without them, I would not be able to have that triple-double. Played a big part in the assist column, boxing their man out, and I was just getting long rebounds. It is definitely a special moment, a special night. I am thankful for it.”

Morant On Pulling Out The Game In The Fourth Quarter

“We were just preaching all game to just pick up our energy, and we felt like earlier in the first three quarters, we were playing some good defense, tough shots," said Morant. "Our energy just was not there, and on the offensive end, just keep playing together and unselfish. We all just bought into it, locked in, and were able to come out with a big win late in the fourth.”

Morant On The Team Finding A Way To Win Without There Shots Falling

"It says a lot - says that we can win both ways, whether we're hitting them or missing them," said Morant. "We just buy into the little things, whether it's playing defense, getting on 50/50 balls, rebounds, blocking shots, or free-throws. Little stuff like that. Like I said against Detroit, shows that we can win both ways and we proved that again tonight."

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© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Morant On His Team's Mental Toughness and Communication

"Definitely. Every time out, dead ball, when we're on the floor; you can hear everybody talking," said Morant. "From the players on the floor, to the bench and when we're in the huddles. Everybody's talking. Just keep encouraging each other, keep boosting everybody's confidence. It feels like we're all just preaching the same thing. We have this mentality to just fight to the end, go out and compete. At the end just try to get a win."

Morant On How His Team Overcame Early Season Struggles

"I feel like everybody could see how we were playing," said Morant. "For us to rally late in the fourth quarter and get a win like that was big for us. What were we supposed to win, 26 games this year? I think we just passed that. Appreciate you all who bet against us."

The Grizzlies (27-26) now prepare for a crucial matchup with the Portland Trailblazers (25-29) on Wednesday. The Blazers are directly behind the Grizzlies in ninth place in the Western Conference and two and a half games behind them for the final playoff spot.  The Blazers will be on the second night of a back to back.

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