Ja Morant says Memphis Grizzlies look 'damn good' in 55-point quarter, win over Pelicans

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant returned to action Saturday and looked like he hadn't missed a beat.

Morant had 21 points and nine assists in a team-high 27 minutes as the team blew out the visiting New Orleans Pelicans 141-114. Morant had been out with a sore right knee since March 18 but returned Saturday to knock off a little rust before the playoffs get underway next weekend.

"Felt like I needed a game or two to get my legs back under me," Morant said. "Get the game-type feel, nothing compares to a game, whether its practice or whatever. Just wanted to be ready to go."

Even with the No. 2 seed locked up, the Grizzlies wanted to get Morant some time back with their preferred starting lineup along with Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Steven Adams.

The five have played only 11 games together this season for a total of 109 minutes. The lineup also has been tremendous when on the floor, scoring 119.7 points per 100 possessions, allowing 94.8 points per 100 possession and recording a +24.9 net rating.

"Feel like spirits are good, but more work to be done," Brooks said. "We always find a way to play well with each other."

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said the team wanted to monitor Morant's minutes, which is why he was playing in the fourth quarter with a 40-plus point lead, and get him as much of a run as possible.

"We wanted Ja to be full throttle," Jenkins said. "I thought he was doing that, just didn't get the ball to bounce his way or a couple moves here and there. But then he started spraying the ball around. Then obviously in the second half he did a great job of continuing to play full throttle."

This was Morant's 57th game of the season, and the team went 20-4 without him in the lineup.

With Morant back Saturday, Memphis rolled to victory with its second-highest point total of the season.

"Tonight I felt like we looked damn good," Morant said. "Look at that third quarter."

It was an historic third quarter as the Grizzlies put up 55 points, becoming just the fourth team in NBA history to score that many points in a single quarter. They had 119 points by the time the third quarter ended and coasted the rest of the way.

The win was also the Grizzlies' 56th of the season, tying the franchise record set in 2012-13. Memphis has a chance to break the record on Sunday against the Boston Celtics.