When Ja Morant entered a recent game in Washington, it was his first start since being waived by the Portland Trail Blazers, but according to NBC Sports California, it was not a modest breakthrough in his career. The 25-year-old guard from South Africa posted a career-high 34 points on a sizzling 12 of 19 shooting, landing Memphis Grizzlies their 17th win in a row, 104-100, over the Warriors.
Morant had earlier appeared in 31 games for the Trail Blazers this season before being waived. Before making his season debut, the promising guard had been averaging just 1.5 points per game.
Given that his previous career-high scoring output was just 15 points, the appearance in the starting lineup marked the 11th time he had reached double figures in a game. With a shooting performance of near 70 percent and five three-pointers, Morant was arguably the offensive standout of the game.
But perhaps what was more notable than his performance was that Morant entered the game as part of a crunching Memphis defensive rotation that led the Grizzlies to the biggest win in franchise history against the nine-time NBA champions. With Al Jefferson, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley leading the way, Memphis did a poor job containing the Warriors’ big three of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.