LeBron James, Draymond Gree, Kyle Kuzma react to Ja Morant’s game-winning shot in first game after 25-match ban

After completing a 25-game suspension for violating NBA policies, Ja Morant made a significant return to action on Tuesday in a matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelican. Marking his first NBA appearance in several months, Morant surpassed even the highest expectations.

The entire NBA world is amazed by Ja Morant’s recent performance in his return to the Memphis Grizzlies. Even NBA compatriot like LeBron James, Draymond Green, and Kyle Kuzma couldn’t hide their joy at seeing him excel once again.

LeBron James, Draymond Green, Kyle Kuzma react on Ja Morant’s game-winner

Morant made his comeback on Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans after completing his 25-game suspension. It had been 235 days since the superstar guard last played in an official NBA game, and he certainly didn’t disappoint upon his return.

Morant not only exploded for 34 points, rebounding from a rusty first half where he only scored seven, but he also sealed the victory with a game-winning shot against the Pelicans, giving the Grizzlies a 113-111 win.

Lakers LeBron James, Warriors Draymond Gree, and Wizards Kyle Kuzma all reacted to Ja Morant's game-winning shot in first game after 25-match ban in 2023/2024 season
Ja Morant Via The Commercial Appeal

Despite trailing by as much as 24 points in the first half, Morant’s second-half performance fueled the Grizzlies’ comeback. In his first game back, Ja Morant orchestrated a come-from-behind win and delivered a game-winning moment, overcoming the criticisms and challenges he had faced.

After the Ja effect led Grizzlies to a win against the Pelicans, LA Lakers LeBron James was quick to join the entire NBA community in hyping Ja Morant’s return when he tweeted, “12 welcome back!! Go be Great again!!”

Warriors’ Draymond Green wasted no time in acknowledging Ja Morant’s toughness as he made a game-changing return to the court.

Another NBA star, Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards also joined other peers to shower praise on the Grizzlies star for his last night’s performance while tweeting the big number ‘12’, as Ja returns to the game.

Ja’s return to court duties will greatly turn the fortune of the Grizzlies around expectedly if he remains focused and avoids entangling himself with some unwanted off-court activities going forward.

Ja Morant’s performance vs Pelicans

Before the game, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins conveyed that he wouldn’t be overly conservative with Ja Morant’s playing time, emphasizing that the guard wouldn’t face any specific minutes restriction. Despite Ja practicing with the team during his suspension, concerns lingered about his conditioning. The returning star did show signs of exhaustion at times, but his perseverance led to extraordinary results as in the case of the 113-111 win for the Grizzlies.

Lakers LeBron James, Warriors Draymond Gree, and Wizards Kyle Kuzma all reacted to Ja Morant's game-winning shot in first game after 25-match ban in 2023/2024 season
Ja Morant Via ClutchPoints

In the first half, the Grizzlies found themselves trailing by a substantial 24 points, with Ja contributing seven points, three assists, and two turnovers in 16 minutes. Down 19 points at halftime, it seemed Ja Morant’s night might conclude early in a blowout. However, the third quarter marked a resurgence. Ja played a pivotal role, chipping away at the deficit with 13 points, four assists, and three rebounds.

While it took two quarters for Ja Morant to regain his timing and sync with teammates, his return energized the Grizzlies. Entering the fourth quarter, they trailed by only 10 points. Ja, initially on the bench, re-entered with the Grizzlies behind 96-89. In the following 8:07 of gameplay, the team outscored the Pelicans 24-17.

With the game tied and 10 seconds left, Ja took charge. In an isolation play against top-notch defenders, he executed a spinning finish for a memorable victory. However, while he was unable to reverse the Grizzlies’ 6-19 start, Ja Morant’s return offers hope for a brighter future, exemplified by his masterpiece in the first game upon return.

Shariare Hasib

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Shariare Hasib is an NBA Editor at SportsKnot. With a master's degree in journalism from a prestigious university, Shariare started writing about the sport during his undergraduate years. Since then, he has been fascinated by LeBron James' lasting impact as well as Stephen Curry's incredible consistency. He specializes in live basketball coverage. Apart from reporting on trade speculations and match updates during off-season activities, Shariare frequently interacts with fan communities to stay abreast of the constantly evolving NBA scene.


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