All-Star Morant won his first playoff series as he helped the Grizzlies overturn the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ fourth-quarter lead in Game 6 on Friday and win 114-106.
That victory sends the Grizzlies into the Western Conference semi-finals – the first time they have reached that stage since 2015 – and sets up a series against the Golden State Warriors, which will start on Sunday in Tennessee.
It was the third time in their series against the Timberwolves that the Grizzlies had to overcome a double-digit deficit in the final quarter.
“The series was a battle,” said Morant, who had a double-double of 17 points and 11 assists, complemented by eight rebounds.
“We knew that every game would be a dogfight. Coming in we knew, with this team, we wouldn’t win this series in one game.
“We knew that every game would be a dogfight, that we had to come in locked in and bring our energy from the start. Obviously, the wins were pretty ugly outside of Game 2, but we got it done.
“I feel like we’re always confident no matter what the score is. We treat it pretty much as zero-zero.
“We’ve been down double-digits plenty of times and came back and won. We know the game is not over until there are zeros on the scoreboard at the end of the fourth quarter.”
While Morant is confident in Memphis’ comeback abilities, team-mate Dillon Brooks insisted it is not by design.
“I wish we had better starts,” said Brooks, who along with Morant danced on the Timberwolves’ logo after sealing Memphis’ progression.
“We don’t want to put ourselves in that predicament, but we always find a way to fight.
“Like coach [Taylor Jenkins] said in the locker room, ‘There’s not one way to win in the NBA playoffs’. There are a lot of ways to win and we just figured out one way.”
Morant has had a brilliant campaign though was kept relatively quiet across the series as a whole in his first postseason appearance. However, support came from Desmond Bane.
“If you ask me, the MVP of this series is this guy right here,” Morant said while sitting with Bane at a news conference.
“Time and time again, he came up big-time. He hit some big-time shots for us, even kept us in the game, and gave us a lead.”