NBA regular season

Ja Morant, Grizzlies cruise past Magic

Ja Morant, Grizzlies cruise past Magic

RIGHT ON THE MARK. Ja Morant and the Grizzlies shoot an efficient 50% against the Magic.

Petre Thomas/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Ja Morant and the Grizzlies return to their winning ways with a 28-point home demolition of the Magic

Ja Morant had 25 points and 7 assists, Desmond Bane scored 24 points, and the host Memphis Grizzlies completed a season sweep of the Orlando Magic with a 124-96 victory on Saturday, March 5 (Sunday, March 6, Manila time).

Memphis shot 50% in the first half, highlighted by an 11-for-20 effort from three-point range as Morant and reserve guard Tyus Jones each had 3 triples, en route to a commanding 68-45 halftime lead.

The Grizzlies pulled ahead by 32 points in the fourth quarter as the Magic lost in Memphis for the 17th time in 21 overall meetings.

Morant played 28 minutes and went 9-for-17, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Jones finished with 14 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. converted 9-of-11 free throws and scored 13 points for Memphis, which also defeated Orlando, 135-115, on February 5.

Saturday’s rematch saw the Grizzlies shoot 50% from the floor and 14-for-34 (41%) from long range. Brandon Clarke contributed 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals, and Kyle Anderson, who was questionable because of left foot soreness, scored 7 of his 9 points in the first quarter.

The Magic, who fell to 2-12 playing the second game of a back-to-back, were led by Cole Anthony’s 19 points and Franz Wagner’s 15 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Mo Wagner totaled 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench after missing nine consecutive games with a left rib contusion.

Ignas Brazdeikis scored 12 points, Mo Bamba had 10 points, and Markelle Fultz came off the bench for 6 points and 3 assists in his third game of the season.

Orlando was without starters Jalen Suggs and Wendell Carter Jr. Suggs did not play after spraining his right ankle late in the fourth quarter of Orlando’s 103-97 win at Toronto on Friday, while Carter was out for the second straight game due to a non-COVID illness.

Franz Wagner, Chuma Okeke, R.J. Hampton, Anthony, and Bamba made up Orlando’s starting unit for the second time this season. The Magic trailed 31-29 after the first quarter, but Memphis outscored Orlando 37-16 in the second stanza highlighted by a Ziaire Williams one-handed dunk in transition off Morant’s alley-oop pass. –