Morant’s Winning Shot After 25-Game Suspension

Photo of Morant, welcome by his teamates after 25-games suspension.

Ja Morant marked his victorious comeback from suspension by securing a significant 115-113 win for the Memphis Grizzlies over the New Orleans Pelicans with a game-winning buzzer-beater. The prominent point guard had been sidelined for the entire season due to NBA penalties related to “conduct detrimental to the league.”

Morant’s suspension, originating from incidents on Instagram Live, involved an initial eight-game ban, followed by a subsequent 25-game penalty without pay. The Grizzlies, grappling with Morant’s absence, currently hold a 7-19 record and occupy the 13th position in the Western Conference after the pivotal victory on Tuesday.

In the midst of celebratory moments with his teammates, Morant conveyed, “I’m a dog. I’ve been putting work in, haven’t played a game in eight months, had a lot of time learning about myself, a lot of hard days where I went through it, but basketball is my life and what I love. It’s therapeutic for me, and I’m just excited to be back.”

Leading up to the game, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James showed his support for Morant on X (formerly Twitter), stating, “Go be GREAT again!!”

Morant, acknowledged as one of the league’s most dynamic players, secured his game-winning moment by executing a spin move in the lane, skillfully maneuvering between two opponents, and releasing a shot off the backboard while suspended in mid-air.

The 24-year-old concluded the game with an impressive 34 points, sharing the highest individual score, and also contributed six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals.

After the game, Morant expressed gratitude for his teammates, emphasizing their support as a brotherhood during his suspension. He highlighted their collective effort in demanding practices, lighter sessions, treatments, and shared moments during flights. Morant credited his teammates with positive encouragement, advising him to stay true and keep working, underscoring their belief in him. According to Morant, this camaraderie was evident in the team’s collective excitement about his return.

With Morant back in action, the Grizzlies are poised to gain confidence for an improved performance, currently trailing by five-and-a-half games from securing an automatic playoff spot.

Morant received significant support on the court, with Jaren Jackson Jr. contributing 24 points and six rebounds, and Desmond Bane adding 21 points and four assists.

Despite Brandon Ingram’s impressive performance for the Pelicans, delivering 34 points, six assists, and four rebounds, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Grizzlies from ending the team’s four-game winning streak.

Looking ahead, the Grizzlies are scheduled to face the Indiana Pacers in Memphis on Thursday, while the Pelicans are set to play the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio on the same night.


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