Ja Morant arrived last night with two memorable moments in Game 5 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Morant had the dunk of the playoffs and then added a last-second game-winner that put the Grizzlies back in control of the series. Both plays were incredible on their own, but Ian Eagle crushed both calls, elevating them to a whole other level.
Late in the third quarter Morant took off down the lane, planted both feet and detonated on Malik Beasley for a monster slam. Eagle had presumably been waiting for something spectacular because as soon as he finished his "OOOOOHHH!" he followed it up with "A Ja breaker!"
Eagle's excitement matched the play perfectly. Even if he didn't come up with Ja Breaker on the spot, it wasn't a canned catchphrase. He used it for a legitimate moment and it worked beautifully.
Gutty Grizzly Win
Memphis was down 13 when Morant had that dunk. However, they didn't really make their comeback until midway through the fourth. With 6:58 remaining Karl-Anthony Towns made three free throws to extend the Timberwolves' lead back to 11. A Desmond Bane three-pointer a few seconds later truly began the comeback. Ja Morant did the rest.
The point guard scored 16 of the Grizzlies' final 18 points, including all 11 points in the final 2:01. He made free throws to keep it close and then hit the go-ahead three with 1:03 remaining. He added two more free throws before Anthony Edwards' incredible three to tie the game. And then...
An acrobatic left-handed layup with one second left had Eagle screaming again. Eagle simply did his job. "Morant drives. Morant... oooh! It's good! Ja Morant with the bucket." He somehow pulled off letting the moment breathe while simultaneously letting everyone know he was freaking out too.
Jim Jackson only makes a cameo in these clips, but he also executes. Jackson points out that Anthony Edwards went for the steal, which allowed Morant to catch the ball and go towards the basket instead of halfcourt. If Edwards hadn't gambled, he's one of the few people with the size and quickness to stay with Morant and maybe rob us of another excellent call by Ian Eagle.