Ja Morant has always had big-time potential. He’s shown that multiple times throughout the early days of his NBA career. But the performances he’s had of late have shown even more that he is not just mere potential any longer. He’s the real deal, and he might just have a case to be the best point guard in the league. On Monday night, he backed up those kinds of claims with a sterling showing against the Brooklyn Nets as he scored 36 points and dished out eight assists on the road to down them 118-104.
Not only did he score well, but he also kept James Harden in check, denying him a customary double-double, which is no small feat. Kevin Durant led the way for Brooklyn with 26 in the loss. The Memphis Grizzlies didn’t just get a strong game from Morant, though, as he did get help in the form of four others, including Desmond Bane’s 29, scoring at least 12 or more points. Elsewhere, Trae Young had an explosion of sorts for the Atlanta Hawks as they took on the Trail Blazers in Portland. Unfortunately for him and his team, though, his 56 points (his career-high to date) were not enough to take them to a road win on the evening. Young’s night also included 14 assists on the highest-scoring night in the NBA so far this season, but much of the story will be about Anfernee Simons’ 43 points as he tried to duel against Young. The Hawks slipped to 16-20 with the loss while Portland improved to 14-22 thus far.