Grizzlies defeat short-handed Nets
Rookie of the Year Morant sprains ankle in overtime victory
Published: Dec 29, 2020 05:23 PM

Kyle Anderson of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots the ball against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday in Brooklyn, New York City. Photo: VCG

The Memphis Grizzlies' first win of the NBA season was a costly one, as Rookie of the Year Ja Morant limped out with a sprained ankle in the first half of a 116-111 overtime triumph over the shorthanded Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

Morant rose to block a shot by Brooklyn's French forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, rolling his ankle as he came down and hopping to the baseline where he fell to the court.

He was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair, with the Grizzlies tweeting that the initial diagnosis was a sprained left ankle.

Morant watched from the sidelines as the Grizzlies rallied for the victory, standing through the final minutes - a protective boot on his injured ankle.

Kyle Anderson led the Grizzlies with 28 points and Dillon Brooks added 24.

It was Anderson who drained three of four free-throws in the waning seconds of overtime, after he'd grabbed the rebound of when Brooklyn's Joe Harris couldn't get a potential game-winning three-pointer to drop with 5.6 seconds remaining.

But the loss of Morant was a potentially huge blow for the Grizzlies. The 21-year-old star had averaged 36 points in the first two games of the season.

Caris LeVert led the Nets with 28 points and 11 assists. Brooklyn rested stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving - both coming off long injury layoffs after the abbreviated off-­season.

The Nets were also without Spencer Dinwiddie, who will have surgery to repair a partially torn right knee ligament suffered on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Lakers, heavy favorites to win a second straight title, suffered their second defeat in four games in the new season, falling 115-107 to the Portland Trail Blazers.

LeBron James led the ­Lakers with 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists and Anthony Davis returned from a night off with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 31 points and Gary Trent Jr added 28 off the bench as Portland's reserves outscored the Lakers bench 45-23.

In Salt Lake City, Utah's Donovan Mitchell scored the Jazz's final 12 points - including the game-winner with ­seven seconds remaining - and Rudy Gobert shut down Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the rim as time expired to give the Jazz a 110-109 victory over the Thunder.

The game marked the Jazz's return to Oklahoma City for the first time since March 11 when Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 and league play shuddered to halt, resuming four months later in a quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.