Ja Morant drops 47 to lead Grizzlies past Warriors, tie series in 'dirty' Game 2

·4-min read

Ja Morant wasn’t going to make the trip west in a two-game hole.

The Memphis Grizzlies star went off in a tight, physical Game 2 battle with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. He put up 47 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 106-101 win at FedExForum to tie the series 1-1.

The Grizzlies held a five-point lead at halftime after what was an extremely physical — or “dirty,” as Warriors coach Steve Kerr called it — first quarter. Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks was ejected just minutes into the contest after he drilled Warriors guard Gary Payton II right in the head.

That shot resulted in a Flagrant 2 foul, and triggered an automatic ejection for Brooks. Payton left the game with a fractured elbow and did not return.

"I don't know if it was intentional, but it was dirty," Kerr said. "Playoff basketball is supposed to be physical ... but there's a code in this league. There's a code that players follow where you never put a guy's season slash career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in mid-air and clubbing them across the head and ultimately fracturing Gary's elbow ... He broke the code."

Minutes after the collision, Warriors star Draymond Green left the game and needed stitches after he got hit in the eye. As he walked off the court, Green flipped off the Grizzlies crowd, something that is sure to draw a fine in the coming days.

"I'm assuming the cheers was because they [Grizzlies fans] know I'll get fined. Great. I make $25 million a year, I should be just fine," Green said in a postgame news conference.

Kerr summed up the first-half play with this on TNT at the break: “That wasn’t physical. That was dirty.”

As the game pushed forward, Golden State chipped away at Memphis' early lead. It wasn’t until the early moments of the fourth quarter that the Warriors finally took their first lead of the night amid a defensive stand that kept Memphis scoreless for nearly four minutes.

That didn’t last long. Finally, in the last two minutes, Morant pushed the Grizzlies back out front with a wild finish in the lane and then a pair of free throws.

Green cut it back to a one-point game with a layup of his own, but Morant quickly responded on the other end to get the Grizzlies back in front and eventually to the five-point win.

Morant finished the night with 47 points, eight rebounds and eight assists after shooting 15-of-31 from the field. He is now the third player in NBA history, along with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, to put up multiple 45-point playoff games in his career before turning 23.

Ziaire Williams added 14 points off the bench for Memphis, and Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Brandon Clarke was the only other Memphis player to hit double figures.

Stephen Curry led Golden State with 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Jordan Poole added 20 points off the bench, and Andrew Wiggins ended with 16 points. As a team, the Warriors shot 18.4% from behind the arc and made seven 3-pointers as a team.

Game 3 of the series is set for Saturday night in San Francisco.

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant dropped 47 points to lead the Grizzlies past Golden State in Game 2 on Tuesday night. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)