Lakers News: Grizzlies’ Ja Morant Joins Kobe Bryant & LeBron James On Exclusive List After His Latest Playoff Performance
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest new stars who is emerging in this year’s NBA Playoffs has been Memphis Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant. In Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the Golden State Warriors, Morant put forth perhaps the best single-game performance of the 2022 playoffs and joined some legendary Los Angeles Lakers company in the process.

Morant finished with 47 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals as the Grizzlies got a five-point victory over the Warriors to even their series at 1-1. This was Morant’s second 45-point playoff game of his career, putting him in a group that involves just Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and current Lakers star LeBron James.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Morant joined Kobe and LeBron as the only players in NBA history to record multiple 45-point playoff games before the age of 23:

That is some extremely exclusive company and any time someone has done something that only Bryant and James have accomplished, it is clearly special. Morant’s previous performance came in the first round of last season’s playoffs in a losing effort against the Utah Jazz, but this one resulted in Memphis getting an absolutely crucial victory.

Bryant’s performances came in back-to-back games during the Lakers’ legendary 2001 playoff run in which they lost just one contest. He would drop 48 points in the closing game of the Lakers’ second-round series against the Sacramento Kings to end that series. In the Lakers’ next game, he would kick off the Western Conference Finals with 45 points in a Game 1 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

For LeBron, these performances obviously came during his time in Cleveland. In 2006, he dropped 45 points, including the game-winning layup in overtime to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a win over the Washington Wizards in Game 5 of their first-round series. The following year came the famous 48-point explosion against the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals in which he scored 25 consecutive points.

The next generation of new stars in the NBA is making its mark and perhaps none as much as Morant. And if he continues these types of performances, he could soon become a household name like the ones he joined on this list.

James praises Morant during Game 2 performance

Morant’s greatness is certainly not lost on James himself as the King had nothing but praise for the Grizzlies star during the contest itself:

LeBron has been active on social media throughout the playoffs and he heaped praise on Morant, calling him a rising superstar in the league, and blasting his Most Improved Player award as he believes Morant was already great before this season.

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