Ja Morant returns from eight-game suspension, helps Memphis take down Houston

Ja Morant is back in action after an eight-game suspension (AP photo)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Finally, Ja Morant is back in the NBA.

After facing off-court issues due to several misconducts which led him to a month of disappearance in the playing court, the All-Star point guard is now officially back and immediately helped the Memphis Grizzlies escape the tough challenge from the Houston Rockets, 130-125, last March 23, 2023.

Oohs and aahs filled the FedExForum court of the Grizzlies after their franchise player’s number got called at the three-minute mark of the opening quarter.

Despite the long lay-off, Morant was quick to deliver some energy plays for the Grizzlies after a block and two assists to Jarren Jackson Jr. on the other end.

With 46 seconds left in the first quarter, Morant put the crowd on their feet after a high-leaping leftie layup which resulted in a foul-counted possession.

Morant wasn’t done doing damage after putting Houston’s Kenyon Martin Jr. on a poster when he slammed a two-handed jam in front of his face.

All in all, it was an efficient return for the controversial superstar after ending up with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals.

Morant came off the bench for head coach Taylor Jenkins and shot 6/13 from the field built from 5/6 in the free throw line.

With the game tied up at 113-all, it was Morant who took over in the clutch for the Grizzlies after breaking the deadlock with a layup and called the game-winning plays to help Memphis improve to 45 wins and 27 losses.

The Grizzlies are looking poised for another NBA playoff qualification and are currently second in the Western Conference behind the Denver Nuggets.

“Obviously I know I have to be better clicking on both ends of the floor. The time I was watching my teammates, I was studying them. It felt good, man. Mixed emotions. I was excited to be back,” said Morant after the hard-earned win.