Ja Morant Makes Winning Return As Memphis Grizzlies Defeat Houston Rockets

Ja Morant Makes Winning Return As Memphis Grizzlies Defeat Houston Rockets

Joel Reyes
  • Ja Morant finally returned to action in the game against the Houston Rockets
  • The Memphis Grizzlies star missed nine games after he was seen with a gun
  • Morant came off the bench in his first game after the eight-game suspension

The Memphis Grizzlies made sure Ja Morant’s return ended with a win, defeating the Houston Rockets 130-125 on Wednesday night.

Six players scored in double figures for the Grizzlies, who remained 3.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for first place in the Western Conference.

All eyes were on Morant, who served an eight-game suspension after brandishing a firearm during an Instagram live video from a Denver-area club on March 4.

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on during the game against the Houston Rockets on March 22. Image: Joe Murphy.
Source: Getty Images

Memphis fans welcomed Morant back with open arms, giving their star player a standing ovation when he checked into the contest after a timeout with 3:05 left in the first quarter.

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Morant comes off the bench

Morant sent the fans in attendance into a frenzy after scoring an acrobatic layup for his first basket.

He finished the game with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals, and one block. Morant shot 6 of 13 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line, per ESPN.

This was Morant’s first-ever NBA game coming off the bench. He had started every Grizzlies game in his career before Wednesday night.

Morant asked Grizzlies coach, Taylor Jenkins to use him as a reserve in his first game back since the suspension. He played 24 minutes against the Rockets.

Jackson leads Grizzlies in scoring

It wasn’t all the Morant show for the Grizzlies. Jaren Jackson Jr. also starred for Memphis, recording a double-double with 37 points and 10 rebounds. He also had two blocks.

The win did not come easy for the Grizzlies. The Rockets took the lead in the third quarter after making nine of their first ten shots, including all five attempts from beyond the arc.

With the victory, Memphis clinched first place in the Southwest Division. The Grizzlies claimed the division title for the second straight season.

Morant given a heavy fine

Sports Brief recently reported on Morant receiving an eight-game suspension.

The Grizzlies superstar also forfeited $668,659 in salary as a result of the ban.

Morant further entered a counseling program after he was seen holding a gun.