Grizzlies’ Ja Morant defends Ziaire Williams after missed shot

Grizzlies’ Ja Morant defends Ziaire Williams after missed shot

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant on Monday came to the defense of rookie Ziaire Williams over any potential criticism after a missed 3-pointer late in a 122-119 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

With the 76ers up by one point, and less than 10 seconds remaining in overtime, Morant hit Williams in the corner. Williams fired the shot off but it missed and the Sixers held on to win after Tyrese Maxey got the rebound and scored as time expired.

Morant led the Grizzlies with 37 points while Williams finished with eight points, nine rebounds and two assists in his 12th start of the season. Afterward, Morant explained what he saw on the final play of the game in overtime.

(Ziaire) open. His man came to help. It was the right play. I wouldn’t change it. If it happens again, I’ll make the same pass. I passed because I believe in him and know he is capable of making that shot. If that play comes again, I’ll pass it again.

It is nothing to hang our heads about. If people want to be mad because he missed the shot, if there is anybody you want to be mad at, it can be me. I had nine turnovers, missed some big free throws and didn’t make a three. If you pick anybody to be mad at, pick me.

The Grizzlies had won three straight prior to losing on Monday and posted the third-best record in the NBA during the month of January. Williams has played a big part in their recent success, averaging 9.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists as a starter in that span.

To be a first-year player on the court in crunch-time situations is certainly a big responsibility, but Morant believes Williams has earned the opportunity to be on the court during that time.

He earned that from his play before. He has made that same shot plenty of times this season. Also, his defense. It was big-time for us, as well. He earned that opportunity to be out there late in the game. His work speaks for itself when he is out there.

Certainly, Williams has made an impression on the coaching staff and his teammates to this point of the season. The team trusts him in those high-pressure situations and will only continue to do so as the season progresses along.

It seems like only a matter of time before Williams can become the hero for the Grizzlies and hit those shots.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!


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