Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant delivered a huge performance on Wednesday night but still it wasn't enough for his team to beat the Utah Jazz in Game 2. Morant, who was blocked by Jazz center Rudy Gobert early in the game, informed the Frenchman that he would keep attacking the rim.
Morant kept his promise as he finished the game with 47 points -- a franchise record for the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, that wasn't enough as the Jazz won 141-129 to even the series at 1-1. "We lost," Morant said after the top-seeded Jazz evened the Western Conference first-round series.
"Obviously it wasn't enough." Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell, who returned to action after being out for more than a month, showed his respect for Morant. Mitchell scored 25 points in 26 minutes of play. "Honestly, it's not that surprising," said Mitchell, who has some historical playoff scoring accomplishments of his own during his young career.
"He's a gamer. He goes out there and competes. ... Tonight, he was aggressive from the jump. At a young age, for him to be able to have that is definitely special. That's something that I respect about him and about his game.
He doesn't quit."
Morant not afraid of Gobert
Gobert will likely win his third Defensive Player of the Year award but Morant is not intimidated by the French center. "I'm not afraid," said Morant, whose 73 points so far in this series are only two points shy of Hall of Fame center George Mikan's record for the most ever in a player's first two playoff games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
"I mean, that's his job: to protect the rim. My job when I'm attacking the rim is to go finish. Obviously, he got a good block, but as you seen, I was right back inside the paint." Gobert underlined that his job is to protect the rim but showed his respect for Morant.
"It's what it's about," said Gobert, who had 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks in the Jazz's victory. "Sometimes I'm going to get dunked on and sometimes I'm going to get the block. I'm not going to stop coming and doing what I do.
It's the same for him. Hopefully, he doesn't stop coming. I'm still going to be there every time. That's just the competitive spirit. I know Ja has that, but I have that, too."