Memphis Grizzlies

More than Ja Morant: Grizzlies showcase depth, edge unbeaten Warriors in overtime

"Everybody know Grizzlies man. We play till the end," Ja Morant said after Memphis edged Golden State 104-101 at the Chase Center.

For the second time in as many games, these two teams fought until overtime and Morant nailed the dagger, the previous instance being the Play-In game back in May.

This game wasn't as close as the final score suggests for the most part. In fact, the Grizzlies weren't very competitive for the first 14-15 minutes of the game.

Morant continues hot start

After a sub-par first half, scoring just seven points, Morant erupted for 18 of the team's 28 points in the third quarter.

His outburst furthered the Grizzlies comeback, bringing the once 19-point deficit to just six. His ability to bounce back from an ordinary first half, by his standards, to finish with stellar numbers, is a testament to the growth and maturity he's shown through his All-Star level start to the season.

Prior to the season, I had written how the 2018-19 Rookie of the Year could take his All-Star or/and All-NBA leap this year and those points included his consistency and his shooting efficiency further from the bucket.

Through five games, Morant has done work on both those points. He has scored 28 or more points and dished out six assists in four of the five games to finish with averages of 30.4 points, 7.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals on 54.4 percent shooting from the field, 40.6 percent from beyond the arc - all career-highs.

He has increased his 3-point efficiency by 10 percentage points while more than doubling his makes from beyond the arc. As of the games on Oct. 28, Morant is tied as the league leader for points per game and is tied eight for assists per game.

Grizzlies more than Morant

Having said that, the Grizzlies have always shown tremendous depth. For the last two seasons, the franchise has had at least seven players average nine points or more and although this year that number has dropped, the franchise is still showcasing their deep talent pool.

Through five games, the team only has five players averaging in double figures but this while they are missing Dillon Brooks due to injury.

Against the Warriors, over the fourth quarter and overtime, Memphis outscored their opponents 31-22 with just five points from Morant. In fact, even the team's initial fightback in the second quarter when they outscored Golden State 23-14 for the last 10:18 of the second quarter with Morant only chipping in with five points.

The comeback also shows the tremendous maturity of the squad, fighting back from an early 41-22 deficit having lost their previous game, only 24 hours earlier, by 20 points in Portland.

In this game, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Steven Adams combined for 27 points while De'Anthony Melton stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, six rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocks. However, the team's emerging star early this season has been Desmond Bane, who finished 19 in this game.

Curry scoreless in 4th

There's no denying that the Grizzlies earned this road victory. Having said that, the fourth quarter comeback was bouyed by Stephen Curry going cold.

Curry, tied with Morant for the league leader in points per game, finished with 36 points for the game with none of them coming after the third quarter. The NBA's reigning champion went 0-of-7 from the field during the fourth quarter and overtime including 0-of-6 from 3-point range.

That happens rarely, right? Maybe not. This was the third straight game that Curry went scoreless in the fourth quarter including the previous games in Sacramento and Oklahoma City.

The Warriors were lucky this game was close as late as it was. Golden State turned the ball over 23 times, the second time in five games they have recorded at least 20 turnovers. They currently average 16.6 turnovers for the season, which is seventh-most in the league.

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