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Morant leads Grizzlies past Suns


EditorsNote: Edits throughout

Ja Morant scored 23 points to lead three Memphis players scoring 20-plus and the host Grizzlies held off the Phoenix Suns 114-109 on Sunday.

On a day with news of NBA legend Kobe Bryant's death, Sunday's game opened with Memphis taking a 24-second shot-clock violation. Phoenix reciprocated with an eight-second backcourt violation. The gestures recognized Bryant's two professional jersey numbers, 8 and 24.

Following the somber tribute, Memphis jumped ahead 30-18 after the first quarter. Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks carried much of the scoring load from the outset, and both Jackson and Brooks finished with 20 points.

Three other Grizzlies players scored in double figures, with Jonas Valanciunas adding 12 points, and Brandon Clarke and De'Anthony Melton each scoring 10 off the bench. Morant also had eight assists.

Kyle Anderson, starting in place of an unavailable Jae Crowder (knee soreness), had a team-high 12 rebounds.

Phoenix's Devin Booker led all scorers with 36 points, his fourth game in the past five he has scored at least 35. Deandre Ayton scored 17 points, grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and made three steals.

Memphis led most of the game, but Phoenix remained within striking distance throughout.

Phoenix's 33-25 third-quarter scoring edge had the Suns within a basket much of the fourth quarter. The Suns had an opportunity to take the lead with 46 seconds remaining, but Anderson blocked a Kelly Oubre Jr.'s driving shot attempt.

The replay review showed the block deflect off Oubre. On the ensuing offensive possession, Morant fed Brandon Clarke for an alley-oop dunk.

Oubre scored 27 points but had another late miscue. He was called for an offensive foul on a sideline inbound pass with 15.1 seconds remaining and Memphis leading by three points. Phoenix did not score again.

--Field Level Media

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