WASHINGTON — On the list of firsts that Memphis Grizzlies star rookie Ja Morant has ticked off during his maiden voyage in the NBA, the one achievement most fans were eager to see him accomplish given his all-court skills, the ballyhooed triple-double, had slightly eluded him on a number of occasions this season.
Until Sunday night.
Morant came to life in the fourth quarter on his way to 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, his first career-triple-double, and his three-pointer late highlighted a Grizzles’ game-closing run in their 106-99 victory over the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena.
Kyle Anderson scored 16 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 14 points and 11 rebounds as Memphis moved back over the .500 mark despite making only five of its 32 three-point attempts and missing 10 free throws as a team on the night.
The difference maker was Morant’s stellar play in the final 12 minutes. Not only did he put up 10 of his points in the final frame, he either scored or had an assist on each of Memphis’ final 13 points as the Grizzlies ended the game on a 22-8 run after they once were down by as much as 12 in the contest.
Memphis also put the clamps on the Wizards’ offense in the fourth, holding Washington to just 4-for-26 from the field and to just one field goal in the final 4:52. This was the first time that Washington, fifth in the NBA in scoring at 115.5 points per game, was held to under 100 points since a 123-89 loss in Orlando on Jan. 8, a game in which Bradley Beal did not play due to injury.
Beal led the Wizards with 26 points while another member of this year’s rookie class, Rui Hachimura, had 12 points and 11 assists for Washington. Moe Wagner had 19 points off the bench and Davis Bertans had 15 as Washington is now 3-2 on its season-long six-game home stand.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s game, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Rodney Pierce. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 29 pictures in total.