The Memphis Grizzlies go for a season-high sixth consecutive victory on Tuesday night when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Grizzlies recorded their third five-game winning streak during their current 15-4 run after posting a wire-to-wire victory over Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
Ja Morant scored 18 of his 36 points in the third quarter of Memphis’ 118-104 win over Brooklyn. The Western Conference Player of the Week made 14 of 22 shots from the floor, had eight assists and added one memorable highlight with a thunderous tomahawk jam.
Morant has scored at least 30 points in a franchise-best four straight games. He also topped that mark by erupting for 37 points in the Grizzlies’ 132-121 victory over Cleveland in the season opener on Oct. 20.
“People talk about whether Ja should be an All-Star. The question is whether he is the best point guard in the league,” backcourt mate Desmond Bane said, per ESPN.
Bane drained five 3-pointers to highlight his 29-point performance on Monday night. He finished with 22 points in the previous encounter with the Cavaliers.
Cleveland could see Darius Garland return to the court after being sidelined while in health and safety protocol. Garland is averaging team-best totals in points (19.5) and assists (7.3) for the Cavaliers, who posted a 1-3 record in his absence and saw backup point guard Ricky Rubio sustain a torn ACL in a 108-104 setback to the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 28.
Jarrett Allen collected 18 points and 11 rebounds in Cleveland’s 108-104 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. In the season opener versus Memphis, he made all 11 of his shots to finish with 25 points.
Rookie Evan Mobley is averaging a robust 20.8 points while shooting 63.3 percent from the floor in four games since leaving the health and safety protocol.
“We want Evan to shoot the ball more because we believe it’s going in every time,” Allen said. “If he keeps being aggressive, we believe that’s going to help us keep winning games.”
Cleveland’s victory on Sunday, however, was accompanied by a loss of another nature. Guard Isaac Okoro will be sidelined two-to-three weeks after suffering a left elbow sprain against the Pacers.
The Cavaliers, however, addressed its ailing guard situation by acquiring Rajon Rondo in a three-team trade with the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. A four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion, Rondo is expected to see more playing time than he received with the Lakers.
“He’s one of the most competitive guys that I’ve seen since I’ve been around and he wants to help this team and he wants to go compete, so he’s not satisfied with not playing,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of the 35-year-old Rondo.
“He’s a good teammate, obviously. He wants to come here. He wants to get on the floor and he wants to contribute and help our team become a better team.”
–Field Level Media