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Morant scores 26 in return to lead Grizzlies past Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ja Morant squashed the Golden State Warriors’ hopes for their first winning streak of the season. The rookie guard returned to Memphi...
Klay Thompson

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ja Morant squashed the Golden StateWarriors’ hopes for their first winning streak of the season.

The rookie guard returned to Memphis’ lineup and scored 26points to lead the Grizzlies to a 110-102 victory Monday night.

Morant added seven assists, two rebounds and a steal in 29minutes after missing the previous four games with a sore back.

The No. 2 pick in the draft came up particularly big forMemphis (7-16) in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points as the Warriors triedto claw their way back into it.

“There’s a lot of trust with the ball in his hands tomake the right play,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “He had acouple assists late that we needed. Big moments for him, and it’s awesome tosee so early in his career.”

The Warriors (5-20) finished a five-game road trip with avictory in Chicago on Friday and were trying to win consecutive games for thefirst time this season.

Despite long-term injuries to stars Stephen Curry and KlayThompson, their roster is healthier and the bench deeper than it’s been inweeks.

But Golden State shot just 38% from the floor and looked outof sync on both ends of the court for much of the night.

“I honestly think we just (messed) around with thegame,” forward Draymond Green said. “We’re not good enough to dothat. Our transition defense was bad. … We played pretty horrible the entiregame. It was definitely disappointing.”

Dillon Brooks scored 17 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 16for the Grizzlies, who won for just the second time in 11 games.

D’Angelo Russell and Alec Burks each scored 18 for theWarriors, but Russell shot just 6 of 22.

Morant, who entered the night leading NBA rookies at 18.6points per game, was one of several Grizzlies who had an answer every time GoldenState tried to make a run.

With just over a minute remaining and the Warriors within106-100, Morant drove the middle of the lane and went flying for a monster dunkthat hushed the Chase Center crowd.


Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, who has been bothered by left hipand left oblique soreness, missed his fourth game in a row. … Kyle Andersondidn’t play after testing out his sore right heel in warmups.

Warriors: Jacob Evans III, sidelined since Oct. 28 with aleft hip strain, played nine minutes in his return Monday. … Damion Lee, outwith a fractured right hand, originally was listed as probable, but coach SteveKerr said he needs more time before returning to the active roster.


Grayson Allen scored 15 points for Memphis and hit a coupletimely shots from beyond the arc when the Warriors tried to rally. But Allenleft the game in the third quarter after twisting his right ankle.

“Hopefully he’s back pretty soon,” Jenkins said.


On Monday night, the Warriors hosted a group of firstresponders and others affected by a mass shooting in Gilroy, California in Julythat left four dead and many more injured.

Kerr, who has been outspoken about gun violence, was askedabout the issue before the game and reiterated his feelings about the need forbackground checks before someone purchases a gun.

“The first thing that has to happen is our governmentofficials have to decide that the safety of our citizens is more important thanthe money they receive from the NRA (National Rifle Association),” Kerrsaid.


Grizzlies: Visit Phoenix on Wednesday to conclude theirfour-game road trip.

Warriors: Wednesday they host the New York Knicks, the onlyteam in the NBA that entered Monday with a worse record than Golden State.


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