Ja Morant knows all the tricks.
Ja Morant did his homework on Ben Simmons and it paid off, that’s what happened with Ja Morant on Monday night. He was facing Ben Simmons, who had five fouls. And as the Memphis Grizzlies superstar noted after the win over Simmons’ Brooklyn Nets, Ja remembered something from his rookie year, when Simmons then with the Philadelphia 76ers stole the ball from Morant when the guard was looking toward his coach for a play call.
So Morant baited him into doing the same thing. He looked at his coach, Ben Simmons came up to go for the ball, and Morant got him to foul out for the second time this year.
"I knew I had him."
Ja Morant didn't forget the steal Ben Simmons had on him during his rookie season, so he baited him and fouled him out 😅pic.twitter.com/B4uCmvgu4E
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 25, 2022
It was the second time Simmons has fouled out this year and it moved the race between his total points (17) and total fouls (14) even closer.
“I just saw the play,” Simmons said after the game. “It wasn’t a foul. [Orr] called it a foul, made a mistake, it is what it is … it’s really frustrating … it’s not a foul, but it was bulls—. It’s frustrating because it’s late game, fourth quarter, it’s a physical, close game. It’s the NBA. It’s not college. It’s not high school. Some people are going to get hit, some people bleed; it’s basketball.”
Steve Nash, who is still there, was asked to identify the problem. And he has the same answer as everyone else.
“I think rust,” Nash said of what he believes is hampering Simmons most right now. “I just don’t think he’s played a lot of basketball. So he’s just trying to get his game back, his confidence and the familiarity. It’s been 18 months, basically, so that’s a long period of inactivity. For anyone that’s played the game, you know that’s very difficult.”
After Simmons slowly exited the game and Steve Nash yelled a bit the ball was put back into play briefly before another whistle was blown. This caused an animated Kevin Durant to scream, “What the f— are we doing!?” as Ja Morant looked on.
Ja Morant took advantage of that Ben Simmons rust.
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