Morant sparks Grizzlies fightback to down 'crazy' Warriors
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Los Angeles (AFP) – Ja Morant scored 30 points as the Memphis Grizzlies ended Golden State's unbeaten start to the season with a come-from-behind 104-101 overtime victory in San Francisco on Thursday.
The in-form Warriors had looked to be motoring towards a fifth straight win after pouring on 37 points in the first quarter and racing into a 19-point lead early in the second.
But after finishing the half down by 10 at 55-45, Morant rallied Memphis superbly as the Grizzlies hauled themselves back into contention before sealing victory in overtime.
Morant was backed by Desmond Bane with 19 points and Jaren Jackson with 15 points. New Zealander Steven Adams had 12 points.
"I felt like starting out early, we didn't come out ready to play. We allowed them to get comfortable and allowed them to get a big lead," Morant said.
"But everyone knows the Grizzlies man -- we play to the end. We fought back, started locking in on the game plan so we were able to go on a run and get the lead. We had to battle," added Morant, who scored the final points in overtime to seal the Grizzlies win.
The Grizzlies improved to 3-2 while the Warriors fell to 4-1.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors scoring with 36 points but his scoring dried up in the final quarter as the Memphis defense got on top.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr lamented his team's 22 turnovers.
"We had a great first quarter, the ball was moving and then we just got a little crazy out there," Kerr said.
"I give them credit. They came in and dug in and played defense and forced some of the turnovers. Our goal this season was to cut the turnovers down to an acceptable range and we've only done that once.
"It's a good lesson for us. We've got to learn from it, and it's early in the season so I'm confident we will."
Knicks gore Bulls
Golden State were one of two teams to lose their unbeaten record on Thursday as the New York Knicks downed the Chicago Bulls 104-103 in the Windy City.
The Knicks had looked to be cruising towards a deserved win after opening up a 13-point lead with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls rallied superbly, however, rattling off a 12-0 to close to within point in the final seconds.
But Bulls star DeMar DeRozan missed a 15-foot pullup shot to win the game on the buzzer, and the Knicks escaped.
"I really didn't expect to be that open," a dejected DeRozan said after his last-gasp miss. "I kind of rushed it.
"It sucks, especially when the team fought extremely hard to get that win. I wanted to pull it off for them, but you can't make every shot."
New York's Kemba Walker, with 21 points, was one of five players in double digits for the Knicks, with R.J. Barrett posting 20 points and Julius Randle 13. Derrick Rose added 12 points against his former club while Evan Fournier had 10.
Zach LaVine was the pick of the Bulls scorers with 25 points, while Nikola Vucevic had 22.
While the Bulls were left to reflect on their first defeat of the season, there was no such disappointment for the Utah Jazz on their road trip in Houston.
The Jazz improved to 4-0 with a comfortable 122-91 defeat of the Rockets at Houston's Toyota Center.
Seven Utah players finished with double-digit points tallies in a game that the Jazz led almost from start-to-finish. Utah were always in control after storming into a 32-18 lead at the end of the first quarter, and led by 36 points at one stage.
Bojan Bogdanovic was the pick of the Utah scorers with 19 points, while Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson had 16 points apiece.
© 2021 AFP