In a game where the Wizards' backcourt was struggling with turnovers and getting their shots to fall, Ja Morant was undoubtedly the best player on the floor Tuesday night.
He went for 35 points, 10 assists and five rebounds to lead the Grizzlies to a relatively easy win over the Wizards at Capital One Arena. Per ESPN, Morant became the first Grizzlies player ever to score 30 points and dish out 10 assists in the same game.
Morant is a bonafide star and all Bradley Beal could do after such a performance was give the young guard his due respect.
"He's a special talent for sure," Beal said. "I have a lot of respect for Ja, his professionalism, his approach to the game, he loves the game."
This wasn't the first time Morant showed out against the Wizards. In February 2020, Morant recorded his first triple-double in D.C. and practically made every play for his team down the stretch of a close game. It secured the win and further cementing his case for Rookie of the Year.
But what stood out to Beal this time around was how Morant controlled the game from the point guard position. It takes a while for a young player like Morant to learn the hardest position in basketball, but it looks like he's already playing one step ahead of his opponent at 21 years of age.
"Tonight was the first time I saw him manipulate a game," Beal said. "He kind of manipulated us tonight, he kind of got where he wanted, was running his team, he was talking a little trash getting guys going. He's going to be a special talent for years to come, we all know that, it's no surprise."
Morant has quickly become a Wizards killer and fortunately for Washington, they'll only have to see him twice a year as long as he's in the Western Conference. However, Beal is looking forward to when they meet again on the court in eight days.
"We didn't make it tough on him," Beal said. "We tried, we definitely tried but he kinda got the best of us tonight. Best thing about it is we see him the first game after the All-Star break."
Tune in to NBC Sports Washington at 6 p.m. for full coverage of the Wizards' next game against the Los Angeles Clippers