The Los Angeles Lakers are 2-1 in their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Ja Morant put up a ridiculous performance in Game 3 with 45 points (22 straight at one point in the fourth quarter), 13 assists and nine rebounds, earning some big praise from LeBron James.
James and the Lakers rode a sensational start all the way to a win while shutting down the idea that Dillon Brooks will be anything more than an inconvenience to them. Morant, though, did just about everything he could have done to get the Grizzlies back in it. James complimented him on his big-time performance but snuck in an interesting comment that suggests he was pointing out one of the great performances from his past.
“That boy is good…when great players get it going, there’s nothing you can do.”
LeBron on Ja Morant scoring 22 STRAIGHT POINTS in the 4th quarter. Ja finished with 45 PTS, 13 AST, 9 REB, 6 3PT in the loss. pic.twitter.com/yopyXU5tNe
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 23, 2023
“That boy is good. I mean, he’s good,” James said following the Lakers’ 111-101 win. “He’s so good at attacking the rim that you wanna try to keep bodies in front of him, make him try to live on the perimeter. Well, tonight, he made six threes. Once a guy gets going from the outside, he can do whatever he wants offensively. So our mindset [was], ‘If they were gonna score, we gotta continue to score. We gotta continue to put pressure on their defense.’
“When great players get it going, there’s nothing that you can do. You can run off 20, you can run off 30, you can run off, I don’t know, 29 out of 30. You can’t stop them,” James concluded.
The funny thing about that last comment, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN points out, is that the Lakers superstar once scored 29 out of 30 points for his team way back when in a playoff game. James’ iconic 48-point performance against the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals is known for him scoring the last 25 points for his Cleveland Cavaliers. Peeking back a little bit further shows that James had all but one point of the Cavs’ last 30 points. (Shoutout to Drew Gooden for that big free throw.)
James flashed a brief smile as he added the line about scoring 29 out of 30, which probably means he was indeed hinting at that legendary performance. The Lakers will look to contain Morant better as they try to put themselves in position for the series’ kill shot.
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