NBA regular season

Ja Morant dishes out 17 assists, Grizzlies down Raptors

Ja Morant dishes out 17 assists, Grizzlies down Raptors

ASSIST MAN. Grizzlies guard Ja Morant looks to pass against Raptors forward OG Anunoby.

Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

‘His unselfishness, we talk about that all the time,’ says Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins as Ja Morant records a career-high 17 assists

Ja Morant fired 13 of his 19 points in the third quarter and added a career-best 17 assists as the visiting Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Toronto Raptors, 119-106, Thursday night, December 29 (Friday, December 30, Manila time).

Dillon Brooks scored 25 points and Steven Adams had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who won for the second time in their past six games.

“It’s super impressive,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said of Morant’s staggering assists stat. “Tons of credit to Ja. It just sets a tone for us. His unselfishness, we talk about that all the time.”

Desmond Bane added 16 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 15, and John Konchar contributed 11 points for Memphis.

Before fouling out late in the fourth quarter, Pascal Siakam had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto.

Gary Trent Jr. added 20 points for the Raptors, who have lost eight of their past 10 games and five straight at home. OG Anunoby scored 16 points, Scottie Barnes had 14 points, and 10 rebounds, and Chris Boucher scored 13 points.

The Grizzlies led by 18 entering the fourth quarter, but the Raptors cut the lead to 9 on Siakam’s layup with 5:53 to play. Brooks answered with a three-pointer and Adams made a hook shot with 4:30 to play and the lead was back to 14.

After leading by as many as 15 points, the Grizzlies were up 30-20 at the end of the first quarter.

The Raptors trimmed the lead to 5 points two minutes into the second, but Memphis used a 12-1 surge to lead by 16 with 5:17 left in the quarter. Adams made a dunk from Morant’s pass to increase the lead to 19 at 55-36 with 2:10 to go before ultimately taking a 57-43 into the half.

Brooks scored 15 points and Adams had 8 points and 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies at the break, who shot 41.8% (23-for-55) in the first half. Trent scored 12 points and Siakam had 11 for the Raptors, who shot just 29.8% (14-for-47) from the field in the first half.

Bane’s three-point basket with 7:54 to go in the third quarter stretched Memphis’ lead to 23 – their biggest of the game, which they attained twice. 

Toronto used a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 14 with 2:37 remaining. Memphis responded with an 8-0 run and led 93-75 after three quarters.

Starting guard Fred VanVleet (back) did not play for the Raptors. –

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