Nets' Kevin Durant Says Grizzlies' Ja Morant is 'Blossoming In Front Of Our Eyes'

Doric SamJanuary 4, 2022

BROOKLYN, NY - JANUARY 3: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets plays defense on Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on January 3, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Memphis Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant went off for 36 points in Monday's victory over the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. Morant's stellar performance earned him the adulation of Nets star forward Kevin Durant.

"He's just controlling the game," Durant told reporters after the game. "He's always been an efficient player who can run the point guard spot, he's developed into a major scorer as well. He just plays with a great pace out there, plays with joy and enthusiasm, and you see him blossoming in front of our eyes."

The Grizzlies never trailed in their 118-104 victory and led by as many as 28 in the fourth quarter. It was Memphis' fifth straight win to improve to 24-14, good for fourth place in the Western Conference.

Morant shot an efficient 14-of-22 from the field with a couple of three-pointers on Monday night and he also added eight assists. He scored 18 of his points in the third quarter alone. Durant said he's excited to see Morant's development as he continues in his NBA career. 

"Since college, he's been on this trajectory," Durant added. "As a basketball fan, you can't wait to see what he's like in years going forward."

In his third season, Morant is averaging a career-best 24.7 points on 48.5 percent shooting and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc. He's shown the ability to rise to the occasion, as both of his 40-point games this year have come against the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers.

Morant missed 12 games this season after suffering a knee injury in November. Memphis went 10-2 in his absence to turn around their season after starting out 9-10.

Morant and company will look to lead the Grizzlies to their sixth straight win on Tuesday in a road matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers.