Ja Morant scores dunk of the year contender against Indiana Pacers, video, Memphis Grizzlies win

NBA

Ja Morant scored 23 points, 10 assists and another ferocious dunk to help the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Indiana Pacers 130-112 to extend the NBA‘s longest current winning streak to nine games.

Desmond Bane scored 25 points to lead the Grizzlies, who tied Denver for the Western Conference’s best record at 29-13.

Neither Bane nor Morant was needed in the fourth quarter.

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Morant’s soaring slam over Jalen Smith made it a 20-point game with 4:20 left in the third, and Memphis led by as much as 34 in the fourth.

Asked if the dunk was his best, Morant said, “Yeah, easily because of the difficulty”, then added, “It’s what everybody has been waiting for. I finally made it”.

“I ain’t seen nothing like that one. That’s probably going to go down as dunk of the year,” added Bane.

The game was tied in the second quarter before Memphis outscored the Pacers 27-11 to take a 68-52 lead at half-time. Morant had five points and four assists during that span.

“Obviously we’re having fun out there, playing hard and playing together,” Bane said.

Santi Aldama added 17 points and Ziaire Williams 13 for the Grizzlies.

“We’re not playing perfect basketball,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said of the team’s winning streak.

“I’m just glad our guys are finding different ways to win, whether we’re playing with a lead or playing from behind. Each game has presented a different challenge for us and our guys have stayed the course.”

Reserve guard Chris Duarte scored 25 points for the Pacers, while rookie Bennedict Mathurin had 16 and T.J. McConnell added 13.

“That very well may be the best team on the planet right now,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

“They’re very hard to play.”

The Pacers, missing two starters, have now lost three games in a row.

Point guard Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana’s leading scorer and NBA assist leader, is expected to miss two weeks after sustaining a left elbow strain and left knee contusion.

Centre Myles Turner, who averages 17 points, is also out with back spasms.

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