Ja Morant on Stephen Curry After Grizzlies vs. Warriors: 'Give Him Dat MVP Award'May 22, 2021
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant threw his support behind Golden State Warriors counterpart Stephen Curry in the NBA MVP race after their battle Friday night.
Morant's Grizzlies scored a 117-112 overtime win over the Warriors to secure the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, and the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year took time afterward to praise Curry on social media:
Both players put on a show in Friday's fight for the final playoff spot in the West.
Morant posted 35 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals in 46 minutes. Curry compiled 39 points, five dimes, four boards and three swipes in 47 minutes.
"I love pressure, honestly," Morant told reporters. "I feel like my game rises to another level."
Even Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was impressed with how Memphis' budding superstar went shot for shot with the two-time MVP.
"He had a huge night," Kerr said.
Meanwhile, Curry was named a finalist for the 2020-21 MVP Award on Thursday. The Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid are the other candidates.
The 33-year-old Davidson product already captured his second scoring title after averaging 32 points to narrowly edge the Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal (31.3). He also averaged 5.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 5.3 threes and 1.2 steals across 63 appearances.
While Jokic is the presumptive winner of the MVP award, it was Curry who led all qualified NBA players in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus.
Curry discussed his individual success after Friday's loss.
"I don't think I've put together a run like that, with that much [defensive] attention in my career, so it was a really rewarding experience. The great ones figure out a way to adapt, and understand what the challenge is and not complain about it, not make excuses, but just go out and hoop. ... There's some joy and fun in that, because you know the conversation is how they're gonna stop you, and you've found ways to keep that question unanswered."
Few players in NBA history can match Curry in terms of being a matchup nightmare, and he's showing no signs of slowing down heading into his mid-30s.