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Ja Morant scores 47 to help Memphis bounce back in series vs. Golden State

Ja Morant scores 47 to help Memphis bounce back in series vs. Golden State
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant scored 18 points in the fourth quarter of a playoff win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday in Memphis. File Photo by Etienne Laurent/EPA-EFE

May 4 (UPI) -- All-Star guard Ja Morant scored a playoff career-high 47 points to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a Game 2 win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, tying the second-round Western Conference series at a game apiece.

Morant made 15 of 31 shots from the field and five 3-pointers in the 106-101 triumph at FedExForum in Memphis. The Grizzlies totaled 14 3-pointers as a team, compared to just seven for the sharpshooting Warriors.

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"I felt like this was a must-win game for us," Morant told reporters. "I was frustrated with myself for missing the [game-winning] layup in Game 1."

Morant scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, including the Grizzlies' final 15 points. He hit a floater with 1:42 remaining to give the Grizzlies their final advantage.

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"I love being in those moments," Morant said. "I love being the one to take those shots with all that pressure. Also, it's about making the right play.

"I just took it upon myself to go get a bucket for us to win."

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The game featured six lead changes and was tied four times. The Warriors outscored the Grizzlies 60-42 in the paint and 29-35 off the bench. The Grizzlies held a 15-10 edge in points off turnovers and 18-10 edge in fast break points.

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Morant and forward Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 14 and 10 points, respectively, over the first 12 minutes for a 33-25 Grizzlies lead through the first quarter.

The Warriors outscored the Grizzlies 26-23 in the second, but trailed 56-51 at halftime. They outscored the Grizzlies 13-3 to end the third and the game was tied 77-77 to start the fourth.

The Warriors continued their run with four unanswered points over the next two minutes and later held a 4-point lead with 3:50 remaining. Morant hit a driving layup to cut the deficit to two about 16 seconds later and followed with a 26-foot, go-ahead 3-pointer for a 98-97 edge.

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The Grizzlies then outscored the Warriors 13-4 over the final 3:34.

The win was a solid rebound for Memphis after it lost a close game to Golden State in the first game on Sunday to fall behind in the Western Conference semifinal series 0-1.

Warriors star Stephen Curry scored a team-high 27 points with nine rebounds and eight assists in the loss. Jordan Poole added 20 off the Warriors bench. Ziaire Williams chipped in 14 points off the grizzlies bench. Jackson totaled 12 points in the victory.

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"It's in our DNA," Curry said of the loss. "We know what to do ... We feel like we should win those type of games. It's a tough feeling, but we understand the big picture."

The Warriors host the Grizzlies in Game 3 of the best-of-seven game series at 5:30 p.m. PDT Saturday at Chase Center in San Francisco.

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