NBA: Ja Morant’s return blows Grizzlies to the Pelicans

Ja Morant Grizzlies NBA

Dillon Brooks of Memphis Grizzlies # 24 and Ja Morant # 12 of Memphis Grizzlies are celebrating the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 09, 2022 at the FedExforum in Memphis, Tennessee. Justin Ford / Getty Images / AFP

Ja Morant has returned from a nine-game absence and scored a record 141-114 goals against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday in the host Memphis Grizzlies quarter.

Morant, who collapsed due to pain in his right knee, scored 21 points and nine assists in 27 minutes.

The Grizzlies made the highest scoring quarter in franchise history when they took a 119-80 lead over the Pelicans 55-33 in the third quarter. It was the fourth-highest scoring quarter for any NBA team since 1955.

Dillon Brooks 23 points, Brandon Clark 20, Zierre Williams 19, Desmond Benn 18 and D’Antony Melton and Jaren Jackson Jr. 12 for Memphis (56-25), 18 of 35-3-points. Tried and tied the franchise record to win in one season.

Griezelis, second-seeded at the Western Conference, could break the record by beating visiting Boston Celtics in the regular-season final on Sunday.

Memphis won the series 3-1 with New Orleans at an average of 131.3 points from three wins.

CJ McCollum added 16 points, Wiley Hernangomez 15 points and 10 rebounds, Jaxson Hayes 13 and 12 points for Jose Alvarado and Jared Harper Pelicans, who made 6 of 30 long-range shots.

Pelican forward Brandon Ingram missed his second consecutive game due to a hamstring injury. Ninth-ranked New Orleans (36-45) is set to host 10th-ranked San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Play-in Tournament on Wednesday.

Grizzlies started scoring in their third quarter with a three-point game from Morant and a 3-pointer from Benn when they made a 75-49 lead. Memphis poured it out before the bench emptied early in the fourth quarter.

Williams made 10-3 consecutive 3-pointers to give the Grizzlies a 30-18 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Alvarado made a basket to start scoring in the second quarter, but Williams sank two 3-pointers and Ben made one when Memphis extended the lead to 43-26.

New Orleans scored the next four points and got close to 11 points on three occasions. However, Grizzlies doubled the 17-point lead, including a 64-47 halftime lead.

Memphis had 8 3-pointers out of 15 before halftime whereas New Orleans had 1 out of 15.

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