Ja Morant was almost unstoppable in the Memphis Grizzlies' 118-108 victory against the visiting Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
Morant was the game's top-scorer with 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting, adding eight rebounds and five assists in an encouraging performance during what has been a relatively inefficient period for the Grizzlies star.
After posting a career-high field goal percentage of 49.3 this past season – earning a Most Improved Player trophy in the process – Morant's percentage has plummeted to 45.5 this campaign, while his true shooting percentage is also a mediocre 54.9 per cent.
Despite his dip in efficiency, Morant's 27.0 points per game has him 13th in the league, and he joins Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Nikola Jokic as the only players averaging at least 25 points and eight assists.
Morant was supported well by center Steven Adams, who tied his career-high with 23 rebounds. He has reached 23 rebounds once before – back in 2018 when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, also against the Kings.
Grizzlies big Jaren Jackson Jr blocked three shots, and his 3.2 blocks per game is the best figure in the league, although he does not currently qualify for the official league leaderboards due to only playing in 19 of his side's 36 games.
The win is the Grizzlies' third in a row, improving their record to 23-13 – only a half-game behind the Denver Nuggets in the race for the top seed in the Western Conference.
Nuggets retain top spot
The Nuggets had to defeat the Boston Celtics to hold onto the top spot in the West, and they did just that, defending home court with a 123-111 triumph.
It was another showcase for reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic, leading his team in scoring (30), rebounds (12) and assists (12) for his ninth triple-double in 32 games this season.
Jokic has somehow managed to reach new heights in his quest to become the first MVP three-peat since Larry Bird (1984-86), posting career-highs in assists per game (9.5) and true shooting percentage (68.6).
Kuzma collects triple-double in Wizards win
Kyle Kuzma and Rui Hachimura led the way in the Washington Wizards' 118-95 win against an undermanned Milwaukee Bucks team.
The Bucks were missing Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, and did not have the firepower to keep up with a Wizards side that shot 53.2 per cent from the field.
Former top-10 draft pick Hachimura scored a game-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting off the bench, while Kuzma had his first triple-double of the season with 10 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists.
After losing 10 games in a row earlier in the season, the Wizards are now on a five-game winning streak to improve their record to 17-21.
a dime & a dunk pic.twitter.com/VQc690yma3— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 2, 2023