INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Yes Morant had 23 points, 10 assists and another wild dunkand the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Indiana Pacers 130-112 on Saturday night to extend the NBA’s current longest winning streak to nine games.
Desmond Bane scored 25 points to lead the Grizzlies, who tied Denver 29-13 for the Western Conference’s best record.
Neither Bane nor Morant were needed in the fourth quarter. Morant’s high-flying slam over Jalen Smith made it a 20-point game with 4:20 in the third and Memphis leading by as much as 34 points in the fourth.
When asked if the dunk was his best, Morant said, “Yes, easy,” because of the difficulty, then added, “It’s what everyone’s been waiting for. I finally did it.”
Bane added, “I’ve never seen anything like it. That will probably go down as dunk of the year.”
The game was a tie in the second quarter before Memphis edged the Pacers 27-11 to lead 68-52 at halftime. Morant had five points and four assists in that span.
“Obviously we’re having fun out there, playing hard and playing together,” said Bane, who grew up in Richmond, Indiana.
Santi Aldama added 17 points and Ziaire Williams added 13 for the Grizzlies.
“We don’t play perfect basketball,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said of the series. “I’m just happy that our guys are finding different ways to win, whether we’re playing in front or from behind. Every game gave us a different challenge and our boys stayed the course.”
Reserve guard Chris Duarte scored 25 points for the Pacers. Rookie Bennedict Mathurin had 16 and TJ McConnell had 13.
“This is maybe the best team in the world right now,” said Pacers coach Rick Carlisle. “They are very difficult to play.”
The Pacers, who are missing two starters, have lost three in a row. Point guard Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana’s top scorer and NBA assist leader, is expected to miss two weeks after sustaining a left elbow strain and a left knee bruise on Wednesday. Center Myles Turner, who is averaging 17 points, is out with a back spasm.
Grizzlies: Morant averaged 28.7 points during the streak. … have won four in a row away to improve to 11-10 in away games.
Pacer: Duarte went out furiously in the second quarter with a sore left hand and knocked over a chair with his right hand. He returned in the middle of the third.
Grizzlies: host Phoenix on Monday.
Pacer: Visit Milwaukee on Monday.
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