NBA regular season

Morant starts for 1st time since suspension as Grizzlies drop Hawks for 6th straight win

Morant starts for 1st time since suspension as Grizzlies drop Hawks for 6th straight win

ON A ROLL. Ja Morant and the Grizzlies extend their hot run.

Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Ja Morant turns in his best game since coming back from an eight-game suspension and helps the Grizzlies extend their winning streak

Ja Morant and Desmond Bane combined for 52 points to help the visiting Memphis Grizzlies beat the Atlanta Hawks 123-119 and extend their winning streak to six games on Sunday, March 26 (Monday, March 27, Manila time).

Morant, in his first start since returning from an eight-game suspension, scored 27 points and had 6 assists. Morant made three free throws with 2:35 left to give the Grizzlies a six-point lead and rebuff an Atlanta comeback.

Bane scored 25 points, including a clutch driving basket with 1:39, with 5 assists.

Memphis (47-27) also got 15 points and 8 rebounds each from Jaren Jackson Jr. and Xavier Tillman Sr.

Atlanta (37-38) was led by Trae Young with 28 points and 10 assists and Clint Capela with 18 points and 16 rebounds. De’Andre Hunter returned after missing Saturday’s game with a sore knee and scored 17.

Atlanta has scored 100-plus points in 50 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in franchise history and the longest such streak in the NBA.

Atlanta is now tied for the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 spot with Toronto, which beat Washington on Sunday.

The Grizzlies took advantage of Atlanta’s poor three-point shooting (1-for-9) in the first quarter to take a 34-27 lead. Memphis led by as many as 8 points in the second quarter and was ahead 61-56 at halftime.

The first half ended when the Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. blocked John Collins’ shot and knocked the forward to the court with six seconds left. Jackson was called for a foul and assessed a technical for arguing, as was Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins, who had to be restrained.

The Grizzlies challenged the foul call and it was overturned, but the two technicals remained. Young made both free throws.

The game was tied three times in the third quarter, but Memphis regained control and led 96-89 going into the final quarter. The Hawks twice drew to within one point, but a 12-4 run – sparked by 5 points from reserve David Roddy – stretched the lead to 112-103 with 6:50 remaining.

Memphis returns home on Tuesday to play Orlando in the first of a three-game homestand. Atlanta completes its three-game homestand on Tuesday against Cleveland. –

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