Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
With all that has been going on the NBA the past week with trades and new faces in new places, the Memphis Grizzlies hoped to put all of that drama about who wanted to play in Memphis and who didn’t behind them and tonight it looks as if they are the Ja Morant team going forward with a desire to win games.
For the Wizards, letting Morant have his ways in the final minutes led to the very first career double for the rookie sensation and another disappointing loss for Bradley Beal and his crew.
“I feel like we all here just have a chip on our shoulder,” said Morant, who is now the sportsbooks’ favorite in the NBA Rookie of the Year race. “Like I said before, they had us picked to win 26 games this year. That’s a chip right there, and we just passed that tonight. But the chip won’t leave.”
Morant scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter, and Memphis closed the game on a 22-8 run after trailing for most of the second half.
Beal who again led the way for the Wizards in scoring has just not been able to find a combination of players that works on the court each night that can deliver a knockout punch when its needed or prevent a team like the Grizzlies from surging in the final few minutes of the game.
Beal scored 26 points for Washington, which led by as many as 12 early but shot 4-of-26 in the fourth quarter.
Rui Hachimura who continues to be a little slow in getting his scoring touch back after coming back of injury had 12 points and 11 assists as the Wizards.
The big note here is the Wizards dropped three games behind Orlando for the final playoff spot in the East.
The bench production continues to be balanced with Mo Wagner scoring 19 points off the bench, and Davis Bertans added 15 on a night when Washington feel short as both teams were pretty dismal shooting. Memphis was was awful beyond the arc (7-of-33) and worse overall (34-of-101) and yet the Wizards found a way to best them in their own worst category.
“Sometimes we come down, and we can’t get stops, and we can’t make shots either,” Beal said afterward. “So it’s like, something’s got to give.”