MEMPHIS, Tenn. – With 8:11 left in the third quarter of Friday’s night’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ja Morant had liftoff.

Behind him, a perfectly lobbed pass from Jae Crowder.

In front, a helpless rim, begging to be blasted.

All around the FedEx Forum, more than 18,000 fans – including close to 2,000 of them making the trip from Murray, Kentucky for “Murray State Night” – about to leave their seats.

He didn’t miss.

The crowd unfurled a vociferous roar.

It was one of several highlights from the former Racer, who delivered another stellar performance in his NBA rookie campaign: 16 points, eight assists and five rebounds on 50% shooting in a 113-109 win, an NBA-best seventh straight for the suddenly-surging Memphis Grizzlies.

Fans from west Kentucky – who came by motor coach, car pools and family caravans – were posted up in FedEx Forum more than two hours before tipoff, and got a chance for a meet-and-greet before No. 12 took to warmups.

“That’s special, man,” Morant told Fox Sports South after the victory. “Had me a little emotional, but I couldn’t break it out. But it shows the support, man, that they’ve showed me since day one when I got there. Traveling three hours to come here and support me…1,200. And I’m like, ‘man, most people don’t get that from their college.’ I’m thankful for them. It’s always Racer Nation.”

Down 62-61 early in the third quarter, it was a full minute of Morant getting Memphis the lead. His layup on an assist from Dillon Brooks made it 63-62. He’d hit eject on a dunk attempt on the next possession, only to somehow contort his body for a pass to Jaren Jackson Jr. streaking down the lane for a slam. And then, his demolition.

“Another awesome, fun game in front of our crowd,” noted first-year Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins in his postgame remarks. “The crowd was awesome tonight. They’ve been fueling us with a lot of energy. I know there were a lot of people to see Ja from Murray State. That’s so cool to see; to witness his rookie year and all that he’s doing. That’s such great support. Hopefully we’ve got Ja fans, Murray State fans, Grizzlies fans…all kind of coming together. But truthfully, our fans have been unbelievable. And I know they’ll be out in full force even on Monday, for the (Martin Luther King Jr.) game.”

Morant nearly gave the crowd another reason to screech with 7:02 left in the fourth quarter and a 103-92 advantage, when he did a full 180-degree spin and connected on a blind behind-the-back pass to Jackson underneath the basket.

Cleveland’s Alfonzo McKinnie was there for the block from behind, and the Cavaliers nearly came back from the deficit – outscoring the Grizzlies 33-21 in the final frame.

“(Larry Nance) had to make a decision – either let me dunk, or leave Jaren open,” Morant told The Athletic’s Omari Sanfoka II about the play. “Once I took off, he jumped late and tried to wall up, and I just had to find a way to get Jaren the ball, and it was behind my back.

“We didn’t finish the play, but (it’s) just me making reads.”

Meanwhile, Morant and Memphis did just enough to keep the streak breathing. An assist to Jonas Valanciunas, another to Brandon Clarke and two free throws – all from Morant – had the Grizzlies up 111-99 with 2:59 to go before the Cavaliers converted on a 10-2 run.

Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Collin Sexton, however, combined to miss three 3-point attempts in the final 20 seconds.

MEMPHIS 113, CLEVELAND 109

CLEVELAND Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Love 34:23 5-12 9-13 2-9 2 2 19

Osman 21:24 2-8 0-0 3-4 0 3 4

Thompson 24:52 1-5 1-1 3-8 1 3 3

Garland 30:40 4-12 2-2 1-2 6 0 11

Sexton 37:03 11-25 3-3 1-4 6 4 28

McKinnie 26:36 6-7 0-0 3-10 0 3 12

Nance Jr. 24:05 7-8 0-2 1-6 0 2 16

Exum 16:05 2-5 0-0 0-2 0 1 5

Henson 12:40 2-6 3-5 2-5 2 1 8

Dellavedova 12:12 1-4 0-0 0-0 1 0 3

Totals 240:00 41-92 18-26 16-50 18 19 109

Percentages: FG .446, FT .692.

3-Point Goals: 9-36, .250 (Sexton 3-8, Nance Jr. 2-2, Dellavedova 1-3, Exum 1-3, Henson 1-3, Garland 1-5, McKinnie 0-1, Osman 0-5, Love 0-6).

Team Rebounds: 10. Team Turnovers: None.

Blocked Shots: 2 (McKinnie, Thompson).

Turnovers: 15 (Garland 4, Sexton 3, Dellavedova, Exum, Henson, Love, McKinnie, Nance Jr., Osman, Thompson).

Steals: 6 (McKinnie 2, Nance Jr. 2, Garland, Thompson).

Technical Fouls: None

MEMPHIS Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Crowder 30:19 3-8 2-3 0-8 3 0 9

Jackson Jr. 19:31 4-11 2-2 0-1 0 3 10

Valanciunas 32:29 4-11 0-2 5-18 4 3 8

Brooks 28:28 9-16 4-4 0-2 1 4 26

Morant 33:14 7-14 2-2 0-5 8 1 16

Clarke 25:19 6-8 2-2 1-2 3 5 15

Melton 19:56 1-4 1-2 1-5 4 2 3

Allen 16:09 5-6 0-1 0-1 2 1 11

Hill 14:52 2-3 1-2 0-0 2 0 6

Jones 14:22 3-7 0-0 0-1 5 0 7

Anderson 5:21 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 2

Totals 240:00 45-89 14-20 7-44 32 19 113

Percentages: FG .506, FT .700.

3-Point Goals: 9-28, .321 (Brooks 4-7, Clarke 1-1, Allen 1-2, Hill 1-2, Jones 1-2, Crowder 1-6, Melton 0-1, Morant 0-1, Valanciunas 0-2, Jackson Jr. 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: None.

Blocked Shots: 8 (Valanciunas 4, Clarke 2, Jones, Morant).

Turnovers: 12 (Morant 5, Melton 2, Valanciunas 2, Anderson, Brooks, Hill).

Steals: 11 (Melton 4, Crowder 3, Morant 3, Jackson Jr.).

Technical Fouls: None

Cleveland 25 31 20 33 — 109

Memphis 27 27 38 21 — 113

A: 17,102 (18,119). T: 2:14.

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