MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Ja Morant scored 38 points, Jaren Jackson added 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies hung on to beat the San Antonio Spurs 135-129 on Wednesday night for their season-high eighth straight victory.
Morant, who missed the previous two games with right thigh soreness, was 14 of 25 from the field, including 3 for 5 from outside the arc. Desmond Bane finished with 18 points and Tyus Jones added 16.
Keldon Johnson, who missed the past two games with left hamstring tightness, led the Spurs with 24 points. Tre Jones had 22 points and six assists, while Jakob Poeltl added 17 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.
Memphis, up 14 at halftime, maintained the lead through the third quarter before consecutive 3-pointers from Josh Richardson (12 points) early in the fourth helped get the Spurs within single digits. San Antonio trailed 130-127 after a floater by Richardson with 2:42 left, but the Grizzlies closed it out.
The Spurs continued to play without Devin Vassell, their second-leading scorer at 19.4 points per game. He is out indefinitely after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee.
Memphis ran off 11 straight points to open the second quarter and took a 76-62 lead into the break.
Spurs: Doug McDermott was 4 of 4 in the first half, including a pair of 3s. … Kieta Bates-Diop was questionable before the game with a right ankle sprain. He was available but did not play. … Poeltl blocked four shots in the first quarter.
Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks passed O.J. Mayo for 10th place on the franchise scoring list. Mayo had 4,584 points. … The 76 first-half points matched a season high for Memphis.
Morant didn’t play Monday in the opener of the two-game series, and it’s hard to believe Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would relish facing a player who was averaging 27.8 points in 11 career games against San Antonio. But he was looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s good for our guys to go against that sort of thing,” the veteran coach said. “Every time he plays, he brings it. So, I’m looking forward to it. One of my coaches is going to try and get his autograph.”