Though they had a healthy LeBron James back, Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies still managed to defeat the Western Conference No. 1 seed Los Angeles Lakers in their recent face-off. On Saturday night at FedExForum, the Grizzlies walked away with a 105-88 victory against the Lakers to bring themselves back to the winning column. Morant led the Grizzlies with 27 points, six rebounds, 14 assists, and one steal while Jonas Valanciunas posted a double-double 22 points and 20 rebounds.
Their recent matchup against the Lakers may just be an ordinary regular-season game, but Morant said in a post-game interview with Dave McMenamin of ESPN that beating “The King” is “big” for him.
“That’s big bro — the King,” Morant said.
“I mean, I feel like everybody knows who he is. Just somebody that I look up to, a great [role] model. He’s just one of a kind. I don’t think there can be another LeBron.”
Meanwhile, James had nothing but praise for Morant, who is currently the heavy favorite to win the 2020 Rookie of the Year award. James said that Morant is “super special” and will in no doubt become a legitimate superstar in the league.
“The kid is super special,” James said.
“Like I said when we just played him in L.A., Memphis got a great one. They got a great one. So, the sky’s the limit for the kid.”
James and Morant have built a good relationship since the 2019-20 NBA season started. In one of their previous matchups, James was caught telling Morant about his willingness to help him on and off the court. This is why it’s no longer a surprise to see both players exchanging jerseys after their game on Saturday night.
“I didn’t even know I was getting his jersey actually,” James said.
“I gave him mine, for sure, but I didn’t know he was returning the favor. But it’s pretty cool.”
Though they would no longer face each other in the regular season, James and Morant have a strong chance of testing each other’s strengths again when the real battle begins in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. If James and the Lakers protect their current standings as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and Morant and the Grizzlies finish the 2019-20 NBA season in the No. 8 spot, fans could see an exciting matchup between a veteran team and a young squad in the first round of the postseason.
James and the Lakers would definitely be the top favorite to advance but their recent game proved that Morant and the Grizzlies shouldn’t be underestimated. If the Lakers become overconfident, the Morant-led Grizzlies could pull a major upset in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.