SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. — Jazz and Grizzlies’ fans alike can agree on one thing: Ja Morant put his team on his shoulders in a losing effort in Game 2 against the Jazz and left it all on the floor.
The second-year player finished the night with a career-high 47 points, shooting 15-26 from the field with four rebounds and seven assists. Morant did it all, from flashy dunks, blowing past defenders to get to the cup, knocking down 15 free throws, and even nailed a pair of threes.
But in the end, his team lost, and that’s what mattered the most to Morant.
“We lost,” Morant said after losing 141-129 to the Jazz. “Obviously it wasn’t enough.”
It may not have been enough in terms of going home to Memphis up 2-0 over the top-seeded team, but it was historical. And he earned respect from his fellow competitors.
Morant’s 47 points were not only the most points ever scored in a playoff game in Grizzlies’ history, but the most points scored by any player, ever, to wear a Grizzlies’ uniform. He is also the second-youngest player in NBA history to score 45+ points in a playoff game behind only Lebron James, who scored 45 points back in May 2006, according to the Grizzlies’ PR staff.
Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins described Morant’s historical night as “an amazing feat” but acknowledged Morant’s focus is on winning not his personal accomplishments.
On the other side of the ball, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell tipped his hat to Morant and showed him respect after the game.
“Honestly, it’s not that surprising,” Mitchell told reporters. “He’s a gamer. He goes out there and competes.”
Mitchell added, “Tonight, he was aggressive from the jump. At a young age, for him to be able to have that is definitely special. That’s something that I respect about him and about his game. He doesn’t quit.”
Morant and the Grizzlies will have two days off before a highly-anticipated matchup in Game 3 on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.