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Morant, Jackson lead Grizzlies over Magic for 5th straight

ORLANDO, FLORIDA (AP) – Ja Morant scored 32 points, Jaren Jackson Jr added 31 points and 10 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Orlando Magic 123-115 on Thursday for their fifth straight win.

Ziaire Williams came off the Memphis bench with six-of-seven shooting and 16 points.

Paolo Banchero had 30 points and nine rebounds for Orlando. Franz Wagner added 22 points, 19 in a desperate fourth-quarter comeback attempt.

Jackson had 13 points and five rebounds in the Grizzlies’ 43-point second quarter that ended with Memphis leading 65-43.

The Magic rallied twice late in the game, but never had an answer for Jackson’s inside power game.

“He set a tone in that first quarter for us, blocked (three) shots,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.

“Overall, you felt his force tonight, his physicality on both sides. It’s definitely one of his most impressive (games), if not the most, so far for JJ.”

Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant looks to shoot. PHOTO: AP

Jackson made 12 of 14 shots, going two for three on threes in his season-high scoring effort.

“He’s a one-of-a-kind talent,” said Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, who had 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.

“He’s one of our guys who’s a mismatch nightmare, so we need him to be aggressive every night on both ends.”

Banchero scored Orlando’s first 10 points of the second half, but Morant answered with 11 straight for the Grizzlies, giving them a 25-point lead midway through the third quarter.

Banchero made three free throws to bring the Magic back within 12 late in the third, but Morant closed the period with a short jumper, and the Grizzlies regained a 21-point lead with three three-pointers (two by Williams) early in the fourth.

Orlando rallied behind Wagner in the fourth quarter and cut the Grizzlies’ lead to six on Caleb Houstan’s three-pointer with 1:53 remaining.

But Morant drew a sixth foul on Magic center Wendell Carter Jr, and scored Memphis’ final three points from the foul line.


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