Ja Morant had a game for the ages, breaking multiple franchise and NBA records with his career-best 47-point performance in Game 2 against the Utah Jazz.
However, it was in vain as the Grizzlies came up short 141-128 with the tied series now shifts to Memphis for Games 3 & 4.
His 47-point total is a new franchise record for most points scored - regular season or playoffs. It's also the most scored by a player under the age of 22 in the playoffs but Morant is not one to dwell on those numbers.
Most points in first 2 career playoff games in NBA history:- StatMuse (@statmuse) May 27, 2021
75 - George Mikan
73 - Ja Morant
70 - Luka Doncic
69 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pic.twitter.com/js63q2p8wa
"Not at all," Morant said postgame if he was thinking about all the records. "I'm blessed to be able to be in the position that I am in, to be able to play the game at the highest level but that's not on my mind at all. We lost, so obviously, it wasn't enough."
The catch and reverse oop from Ja... he's got a @memgrizz #NBAPlayoffs franchise record 41 PTS! 👀#NBAPlayoffs on TNT pic.twitter.com/5dgQi6orks- NBA (@NBA) May 27, 2021
"Mindset right now is to go back home, defend home court and take Game 3," Morant said postgame looking ahead.
Despite being just 21-years-old, nobody's surprised by Morant's focused and even-keel approach. It's this level of confidence in his game that prompted him to say that he ranks among the top 5 points guards in the league few weeks earlier.
Whether he really ranks in the Top 5 is a debate for another day but what can't be denied is that he's certainly playing at the level of a top-5 point guard.
"It's obviously an amazing feat in his early career," Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said postgame on Morant's cool demeanour. "But I know all he will talk about is how he can't wait to come back and get a win. That's his focus. He's all driven to win."
He wasn't just receiving praise from his own team but also from the NBA fraternity but also from his opponents, a team that finished the 2020-21 regular season with the best record in the league and the third-best defence.
Ja special- CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) May 27, 2021
Ja said he top 5.... 🤷🏿♂️🤷🏿♂️🤷🏿♂️- Draymond Green (@Money23Green) May 27, 2021
"Give credit to Ja, he had 50 damn near."- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 27, 2021
Spida showing respect to Ja Morant after Utah's win. pic.twitter.com/Qx4uVPfBhr
Nearly every Jazz player was asked about Morant's show in Game 2 and how he can be stopped.
"You can't say enough about Ja Morant," Utah head coach Quin Snyder on Morant. "He's a special player and he can get where he wants to on the floor and he's really tough to defend."
Along with 47, the 21-year-old also dished out seven assists while shooting 15-of-26 from the field and 15-of-20 from the free-throw line.
Talking more about Morant and the challenging assignment that he is, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder provided more context especially in the pick-and-roll coverage.
"You go under, he flips the angle on the screen and goes downhill. A couple of times we went under and he made a shot," Snyder details. "You go over and he gets in the lane."
😳 RIM PROTECTOR RUDY GOBERT! 😳 #NBAPlayoffs on TNT pic.twitter.com/PL9K4Wl3p4- NBA (@NBA) May 27, 2021
"He's a very talented player," Gobert said postgame after recording a highlight-reel block after he Morant at the summit.
"He's very aggressive and great at also finding his teammates. We know that every game is going to have to be a different adjustment we will have to make and try to make his life a little more difficult."
Going into Game 3, multiple storylines could headline this series but, the Jazz's coverage of Morant and how he responses with a counter will be among the biggest. Both teams compete in Memphis in a couple of days at 7:30 p.m ET on Saturday, May 29.
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