Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts during the second against the Denver Nuggets at FedExForum on November 01, 2021 in Memphis, TennesseeJustin Ford/Getty Images/AFP
Ja Morant had 26 points and eight assists, Tyus Jones scored 17, and the host Memphis Grizzlies beat the Denver Nuggets 106-97 on Monday night.
Xavier Tillman scored 12 points and Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 11 apiece for the Grizzlies.
Nikola Jokic scored 23 points and Aaron Gordon had 15 points and 10 rebounds despite being hampered by an eye injury he suffered early in the third quarter.
Monte Morris scored 11 points and Michael Porter Jr. had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets.
Denver scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to get within seven, but Jones hit a 3-pointer, Tillman scored on a finger roll and De’Anthony Melton made two free throws to make it 89-75.
26 PTS, 7 REB and 8 AST in the @memgrizz win!@JaMorant’s sizzling start to the season continues 🔥 pic.twitter.com/nloQSBgKIE
— NBA (@NBA) November 2, 2021
The Nuggets later got within nine on a 3-pointer by Bones Hyland, but Kyle Anderson hit a layup and a jumper in the lane to make it 100-87 with 4:32 left.
Hyland and Morris hit layups to get the deficit under 10, but Morant hit two straight baskets to make it 104-91 and Memphis closed it out from there.
The teams traded buckets at the start of the third quarter, with each team taking the lead. Jokic hit a 3-pointer to give Denver a 70-69 lead before Morant hit two short jumpers and then P.J. Dozier made another one from deep to tie it at 73 with 4:08 left in the third.
The Nuggets didn’t score the rest of the period as the Grizzlies hit a trio of 3-pointers to go ahead 82-73 heading into the fourth.
Memphis led by eight when Tillman hit a floater in the lane midway through the second quarter, but the Nuggets clawed back into it.
Jokic scored four points and then Gordon scored three to pull Denver within one, and then Gordon’s dunk with 27 seconds left in the first half gave the Nuggets a one-point lead. Morant drained a long-range 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies a 60-58 lead at the break.
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