Ja Morant had other ideas.
With his Phoenix Suns trailing, 112-110 with 8 seconds remaining, Booker caught a halfcourt inbounds pass from Chris Paul and somehow found himself wide open at the top of the 3-point line. He dribbled once, squared up and launched a 27-footer that found the bottom of the net. The bucket gave the Suns a one-point lead with 5 seconds remaining.
Insert Morant. The third-year Grizzlies guard likewise corralled an inbounds pass with the game on the line. But he didn’t look for a jumper. He beat a pair of Suns defenders on the wing, then two more on his way to the basket for a stunning game-winner in traffic.
The bucket dropped with 0.5 seconds remaining to give the Grizzlies a 114-113. The Suns would not respond.
Here are some more angles so you can fully appreciate what Morant pulled off:
That’s nine-time NBA All-Defensive team point guard Chris Paul who meets him at the 3-point line. That’s Defensive Player of the Year candidate Mikal Bridges shadowing him on the way to the bucket. When Morant got to the rim, Booker didn’t stand a chance as the Grizzlies guard hung in the air and dropped the floater past his outstretched left arm.
The bucket secured a second-straight road win for the Grizzlies to improve to 21-14. That’s good for fourth place in a stacked Western Conference.
The Suns, meanwhile posted their first losing streak of the season after falling to the Golden State Warriors on Christmas. They’re fine at 26-7. They just suffered a pair of tough losses to two outstanding teams — and one that made a statement Monday night.
Morant finished with 33 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals on a 14-of-25 shooting effort. And he gave Chris Paul’s dad his jersey.
Game recognizes game.
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