Ja Morant Makes Case as NBA's Most Exciting Star in Grizzlies' Game 5 Win vs. Wolves

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 27, 2022

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 26: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies dunks the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during Round 1 Game 5 on April 26, 2022 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. 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 Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Ja Morant struggled mightily for three quarters in Game 5 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, a crucial contest for both teams as they sought to take a 3-2 lead in the series.

But Morant absolutely went off in the fourth quarter, scoring 18 points, including the game-winning layup to seal a 111-109 instant classic:


JA GAME WINNER 🥶 <a href="https://t.co/mjpk5eDVKO">pic.twitter.com/mjpk5eDVKO</a>

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Ja Morant scored 18 points in the 4th quarter, the most by any Grizzlies player in the 4th quarter of a playoff game.<br><br>Morant scored Memphis' final 13 points, including the game winner with 1 second remaining. <a href="https://t.co/fcONJ5lcOK">pic.twitter.com/fcONJ5lcOK</a>

What else would you expect from arguably the most entertaining player in the sport?

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

Ja... the most exciting player in basketball. Maybe in all of sports today. The stuff he does in-game, in big moments, is truly remarkable. Dude is electrifying.

Courtney Cronin @CourtneyRCronin

Saw so many shades of a Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and John Wall in Ja Morant tonight. Man. What a player. What a series.

Mike Greenberg @Espngreeny

Ja Morant in that fourth quarter made a statement that right now he’s as good as anybody in the league. Absolutely epic. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Grizzlies?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Grizzlies</a>

Shea Serrano @SheaSerrano


Michael C. Wright @mikecwright

Give Ja his damned flowers now. What an effort down the stretch.

Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba

Ja. Is. Inevitable.

Morant finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and three steals, while Desmond Bane added 25 points. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way for the Wolves with 28 points and 12 boards.

But the real show started with just seconds remaining in the third quarter and the Grizzlies down 13 when Morant added another poster dunk to a season full of them:


OH MY JA 😱 <a href="https://t.co/r1usnR2ksS">pic.twitter.com/r1usnR2ksS</a>

Chris Vernon @ChrisVernonShow

now way could that ja dunk happen in a loss

Ja Morwob @WorldWideWob

Ja Morant has the dunk of the year like three different times already.

Malika Andrews @malika_andrews

Ja just snatched his soul… 🤯

Zach Harper @talkhoops

That Ja dunk should be worth 20

That changed everything. The mood in the arena suddenly hit a fever pitch. Morant, who shot just 9-of-22 from the field and 11-of-17 from the charity stripe, became more aggressive after his early struggles made him timid. Memphis' defensive intensity ratcheted up.

And in the process, Minnesota blew yet another big lead in the fourth quarter, a trend that will haunt them in the offseason if they lose this series. It was also a cruel finish for Anthony Edwards, who hit a game-tying three with seconds remaining before his decision to go for the steal on the inbounds pass gave Morant a path to the basket. 


ANT TIES THE GAME 😱 <a href="https://t.co/cArvT6tlJT">pic.twitter.com/cArvT6tlJT</a>

You can't give Morant an inch. He'll take the whole darn game.