The most sweeping version of Ja Morant responded to a denied Warriors from the 3-point range and allowed Memphis to balance their playoff in the Western Conference semifinals. The countercultural bet of the star of the Grizzlies yielded to Golden State, with 15 consecutive points in the outcome, to finish off the second episode of the series between the two most fantasist of the league (101-106). Morant’s deployment, with 47 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, was uncontrollable for a team that, confused on the perimeter, signed a puny 7 of 38 triples (2 of 12 for Klay Thompson, and 3 of 11 for Stephen Curry) , with an unexpected 18%. “This is going to be a great fight and we’re going to have fun,” Morant recounted Curry telling him after the first round. And, so far, the series lives up to the promised tension and emotions (1-1).
The duel was marked by the injury of Gary Payton, who suffered a fracture in his left elbow in the first minutes after a dangerous foul by Dillon Brooks that led to his expulsion (type 2 flagrant action). “I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Steve Kerr criticized the action after the game. “Basketball in the playoffs it’s supposed to be physical. Everyone is going to compete, everyone fights for every ball. But there is a code in this league that players follow and abide by that says you should never put someone’s season or career in jeopardy by hitting them in the air, hitting them in the head and ultimately breaking their elbow. Dillon Brooks broke that code,” said the Warriors coach. Draymond Green was also suspended in the first match of the tie for an action with Brandon Clarke.
Jordan Pool, which in the opening of the series carved a niche for himself in the Warriors encyclopedia by joining Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green as the only Golden State players to lead their team in points, assists and rebounds in a game playoffs from the era Curry (with 31 points, nine assists and eight rebounds), maintained the inertia to second Curry himself (27 points), with another 20. But the one who won the competition for hero of the night was Ja Morant. The Grizzlies guard, 1.91m and 22 years old, the great appearance of the American season, took flight during the match until taking off in the last five minutes in which he grabbed the victory for his team mixing triples (5 of 12) and vigorous and spectacular attacks from the best of his repertoire. Spurred on by his desire to make amends for the first-round denouement, Morant became the first NBA player to score his team’s last 15 points in a win in the playoffs since LeBron James hit the last 25 for Cleveland in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals against Detroit.
On the other side of the draw, in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Boston Celtics also tied their series against the Milwaukee Bucks (1-1) with a union application exercise led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown (86-109). The Celtics duo crowned the Greens’ work to tackle and rebajar to Antetokounmpo (28 points, nine rebounds and seven assists). “We didn’t want the first game to condition the series and we were much tougher from the start,” summed up Brown, who scored 25 of his 30 points in the first half (with 5 of 5 triples). Jayson Tatum completed the task with 29 more points and eight assists and Grant Williams (21 points) and Al Horford (14 points and 11 rebounds). they concreted the Celtics’ block without missing Marcus Smart, defensive player of the year, who was sidelined with a right hamstring injury. “With this level of physical activity it becomes difficult to find your teammates,” Antetokounmpo summed up after his laborious night in search of gaps (2 of 12 in field goals and nine turnovers in the first half in anticipation of his unsuccessful mission) .
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports in Facebook y Twitterthe apuntarte here to receive our weekly newsletter.