Ja Morant vs Stephen Curry: A duel to be savoured within the NBA Playoffs

Ja Morant was rolling, making acrobatic drives to the basket. Stephen Curry was taking and pulling down step-back threes.

Sure, the All-Star guards bought loads of assist in Sport 1 of the Memphis Grizzlies-Golden State Warriors playoff sequence, however they did not disappoint within the opener of their highly-anticipated showdown.

“Oh yeah, pleasant competitors, simply having fun with the second,” Curry mentioned after the Warriors took Sport 1 on Sunday 117-116. “Understanding the large play. He had it going you realize, he was going to attempt to get strain on the rim, and it is making an attempt to do my half clearly.”

There isn’t a query two-time NBA MVP Curry and the league’s Most Improved Participant in Morant did their components.

Morant was practically unstoppable. After scoring with Jonathan Kuminga defending him, Morant emphatically proclaimed: “He. Cannot. Guard. Me.” For stretches, it appeared nobody was to have the ability to defend Morant, who got here near a triple-double with 34 factors, 10 assists and 9 rebounds.

However down the stretch Curry – who had 24 factors and was 5 of 12 exterior the arc – and the Warriors discovered a approach.

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The Golden State Warriors held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies in an enthralling Sport 1 contest of their Western Convention semi-final sequence

Identified extra for his offense as a two-time scoring champ, Curry had an enormous block as he swatted away a layup try by Morant with 20 seconds left. Teammate Klay Thompson had the large defensive play, forcing Morant to overlook the would-be game-winning layup as time expired.

“Each recreation it should be form of a one-on-one sort of scenario,” Curry mentioned. “Taking up all these challenges, you are going to win some, you are going to lose some. Now clearly you simply be prepared for when your second occurs on the defensive finish.”

Morant mentioned he merely missed the layup on the buzzer, however he had it going from 3-point vary, hitting as many (4) as he did in the entire first spherical towards Minnesota. If that continues, he might be even harder to comprise.

Ja Morant moves towards the basket as Stephen Curry stays in close attention behind him
Ja Morant strikes in direction of the basket as Stephen Curry stays in shut consideration behind him

Thompson mentioned Morant making threes forces opponents to choose their poison together with his pace to the basket. Morant led the NBA in scoring within the paint, averaging 16.6 factors a recreation through the common season.

“When he will get within the lane and will get different guys concerned, that is after they’re actually harmful,” Thompson mentioned. “We simply tried to restrict his impression across the rim as a result of clearly he is among the best NBA in the case of ending down there and kicking out the 3-point shooters.”

Golden State coach Steve Kerr agrees. The Warriors spent the previous few days determining learn how to finest defend Morant, and that is why Gary Payton II began the primary recreation of this sequence, to assist defend the Grizzlies guard.

“He is an excellent, nice participant for a motive,” Kerr mentioned. “It doesn’t matter what you throw at him, he will get his numbers. I feel what you need to do is attempt to determine, like I mentioned, what’s the perfect technique with our personnel and what’s the easiest way to try to win the sport. Do you restrict him? Do you restrict different guys?”

Morant scored 14 within the first quarter as Payton picked up two fast fouls earlier than going to the bench. Payton referred to as the problem of defending Morant enjoyable, although it is in all probability not how everybody wish to spend a day.

As for the missed layup, Morant’s teammates could not consider it did not go in.

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Ja Morant throws it down exhausting for an enormous alley-oop slam in Sport 1 between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors

“It is a shot he could make in his sleep,” Grizzlies ahead Jaren Jackson Jr. mentioned. “He had a operating begin and his physique was actually going ahead, so that is just a bit exhausting however he is aware of. I am with that shot day by day of the week.”

Basketball followers would possibly wish to stick with this sequence the following few video games.

The frenzy of dwell NBA Playoffs video games continues on Sky Sports activities this week – see the listing of video games right here and subscribe to look at the dwell motion.

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