MEMPHIS —Former Murray State star Ja Morant made his successful return Wednesday night for the Memphis Grizzlies, coming off the bench for the first time in his career as they won their fourth straight game, beating the Houston Rockets 130-125.
Morant returned after his NBA-imposed eight-game suspension with 17 points and five assists, receiving a standing ovation from the home fans upon his injection into the game.
Jaren Jackson Jr scored a season-high 37 points with 10 rebounds and Desmond Bane added 20 points as the Grizzlies clinched the Southwest division.
The win was also important for the Grizzlies as it clinched first place in the NBA’s Southwest Division as they now own a 9.5-game lead on second-place Dallas. The Grizzlies also maintain second place overall in the Western Conference behind Pacific Division-leading Sacramento.
“Once I got on the court and seen the fans’ reaction to me being back, it definitely helped me a lot,” Morant said. “It made me feel good inside.”
How the Memphis fan base would feel about Morant’s return to the team seemed to be decided on Monday night during a game with Dallas. Morant did not play but returned to the team’s bench for the first time since his suspension began.
He was met with a standing ovation.
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