The Los Angeles Lakers have seen Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant twice this season and both times the young star reached the 40-point plateau. Despite the efforts of LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, it was ultimately Morant who stole the show in leading Memphis to a comeback victory over the Lakers.
Morant is enjoying the best season of his young career and has really seemed to have taken the leap. Morant is currently averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, steals, field goal and 3-point percentage and is staking his claim as arguably the best young player in the NBA.
Despite another Lakers loss, the growth and improvement of Morant really stood out and LeBron believes this next step is par for the course for a talent of Morant’s nature.
“Well I mean obviously the more games you play, the more minutes you log, when you’re a special talent you will continue to get better,” James said. “You’ll understand how defenses will play you, you’ll understand how you can penetrate defenses, how you can keep defenses off-balanced.
When you shoot the ball as well as he did tonight from the perimeter, with his speed and athleticism, it’s gonna be hard to contain a guy like that because when he’s doing the whole three levels of scoring, there’s nothing you can do. He has you at his bay.”
Westbrook echoed the thoughts of his Lakers teammate and believes Morant is playing at an All-Star level.
“I think he was playing like that before he got hurt and is working his way back,” the Lakers point guard said. “I’m not sure based on games missed or whatever, but he’s been playing well for their team.”
Westbrook continued on Morant’s growth, “It’s good. Each year you want to come back better in this league. This year he came back better and he’s figuring it out and that’s a big deal, especially for the [Memphis] Grizzlies in the future.”
The Grizzlies undoubtedly have themselves a star to build their team around and the Lakers, after two meetings, are fully aware of just how good Morant can be.
James explained what happened on final play that ended in turnover
Even though the Lakers ultimately lost, they had a chance to tie it on the final possession trailing by three. James unfortunately slipped and turned the ball over though, and after the game explained what happened on the play.
“Yeah, looked like Russ was gonna go back door at one point, then he backed back out, and I was already in the air,” LeBron said after the 104-99 loss in Memphis. “I had slipped before on my drive, which kind of threw my rhythm off.”
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