Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies snapped LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers’ four-game winning streak on January 9 by winning by a final score of 127-119. The Grizzlies improved to 28-14 on the season, while the Lakers dropped to 21-20.
Memphis blew the game open in the second quarter by outscoring Los Angeles 38-25. LeBron was the only Lakers starter to score in double-figures. He finished with 35 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists while shooting 14-of-19 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Not only did LeBron score at least 25 points for the 11th straight game, but he also made NBA history in the fourth quarter. However, Morant stole the show by impersonating the King.
LeBron James passed Oscar Robertson on NBA’s all-time assists list
LeBron passed Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson for seventh on the NBA’s all-time assists list against the Grizzlies. The Big O finished his legendary career with 9,887 assists.
The next player for LeBron to pass is Lakers icon Magic Johnson, who dished out 10,141 assists. LBJ enters his next game with 9,888 career assists. He’s the only player in NBA history to rank top-10 all-time in points and assists. LeBron is the third-leading scorer in NBA history and is on pace to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the No. 1 spot.
LeBron is usually the talk of the NBA, especially when he makes history as he did versus the Grizzlies. However, Morant — the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year — was all anyone could talk about after the play he pulled off in the first quarter on Lakers guard Avery Bradley.
Ja Morant had incredible chase-down block
Morant had a vicious chase-down block on Bradley in the first quarter, a play that left both teams in awe. The Grizzlies star grabbed the ball with two hands in the air, and his head was above the rim.
“That’s probably the best block I’ve ever seen live,” Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. said, via ESPN. “Probably the best block I’ve ever seen, period. That was crazy.”
LeBron is the master of the chase-down block. He has several in his career, with his most famous one coming in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals against the Golden State Warriors. His block on Andre Iguodala in the closing minutes with the game tied set up Kyrie Irving’s game-winning shot over Stephen Curry to clinch the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first championship in franchise history.
Morant put up 16 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and that one insane block against the Lakers. The Murray State product has been a human highlight show since making his NBA debut in 2019, and LeBron had nothing but high praise for him while discussing his fantastic block.
LeBron James on Ja Morant: “He got rockets in his calf muscles”
LeBron was asked to give his thoughts on Morant’s sensational block during his postgame media session, and the four-time Finals MVP was very complimentary of the future All-Star.
“Obviously, it starts with timing and also just stalking your prey,” LeBron said. “And that’s exactly what Ja was doing that whole play, and I saw it happening. Didn’t know he was going to do it in that fashion, but he got rockets in his calf muscles, and it was a spectacular play. It was a great play. Salute.”
The Grizzlies are the hottest team in the NBA. They have won nine consecutive games, drawing them within one game of the Utah Jazz for the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference standings. Meanwhile, the Lakers dropped to the seventh spot in the West after losing to Memphis. They have been up and down all season despite the heroics of LeBron, who is having the greatest season in NBA history by a player 37 years or older.
Morant loves playing LeBron and the Lakers. He’s averaging 32.3 points in three games versus the purple and gold this season. If the explosive guard keeps his high level of play going and the Grizzlies rise in the West standings, he could win the MVP, an award LeBron has won four times.