Grizzlies 'got a great one' in Morant: James

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Ja Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies' NBA rookie of the year candidate, has an admirer in Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.

James got a close-up look at Morant on Saturday as the Grizzlies -- fighting to hang on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference -- beat the Lakers 105-88 in Memphis.

"The kid is super special," James said after Morant fueled the Grizzlies with 27 points and 14 assists. "Memphis got a great one. The sky's the limit for the kid."

For Morant, 20, it was a first win over James, one of his sporting idols. It may also have been a preview of a Western Conference playoff preview.

"That's big bro -- the King," Morant said of James. "I mean, I feel like everybody knows who he is. Just somebody that I look up to, a great (role) model. He's just one of a kind.

"I don't think there can be another LeBron."

Not that Morant was intimdated by James, or anyone else on the Lakers team.

Briming with confidence, he rose for a dunk in the second half over Anthony Davis -- who stood pat and drew the charging foul on the rookie.

"I think he would probably try anyone that was there," Davis said. "He has done that a couple times this year. So I'm just trying to get a body in front of him and make him run me over."

While the call went against him, Morant said he thought his aggressive strategy was sound.

"If I had went for a layup, it would have been a charge, but if I go up and try to dunk, then it's 50-50," he said.

"So my mindset is just going to finish the play at any time, no matter who's down there."