Ja Morant did his best to get Malik Monk to miss a pair of clutch free throws. Instead, Morant’s own free throw miss cost the Grizzlies the game.
Ja Morant has every right to be confident, as one of the most exciting and productive young players in the game. But trash talk is a dangerous enterprise no matter how good you are and there is always a chance of it backfiring.
With 3.9 seconds left on the clock and the Grizzlies trailing by one, Malik Monk was at the free throw line for two shots and a chance to put the Kings up 3. As you can see below, Morant walked up behind Monk to whisper “don’t miss,” which turned out to be a mistake.
Drawing a foul on a 3-point attempt on the next possession was fairly remarkable for Morant but missing the first free throw pretty much wiped away their chances.
Is Ja Morant a good clutch free-throw shooter?
Morant has struggled in clutch situations for the Grizzlies this season. Including this game against the Kings, he has totaled 25 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, a steal and a block in just 26 clutch minutes. But that’s come with 4 turnovers and he’s shot just 8-of-23 from the field, 0-of-4 from beyond the arc and 9-of-14 from the free throw line.
For his career, across the regular season and playoffs, Morant has made 75.3 percent of 158 total clutch free throws, a percentage that’s right inline with his career average across all free throw attempts. The odds were in his favor when he went to the line, it was just too bad he had already tempted fate with his whispers to Monk.