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Ja Morant received a warm reception when he was announced in the starting lineup for his first home game on Thursday against the Indiana Pacers after previously serving a 25-game suspension. What proceeded was a complete dismantling of the league's top-ranked offense at the hands of the Grizzlies, who got out to a 23-point lead in the first half. 

While it wasn't quite the eye-popping performance that Morant put up against the Pelicans on Tuesday, where he sank the game-winning shot to break Memphis' five-game losing streak, he still displayed a complete control of the game in a 20-point, eight-assist, five-rebound outing. It was the type of game by Morant and the Grizzlies that makes you remember why this team finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference a season ago. It also reminds you of just how many issues Morant's offensive brilliance solves for a Grizzlies team that was sputtering out of the gates this season.

Memphis ranks 30th in offense, and it was evident in the first 25 games that they were in desperate need of someone who could create offense in a variety of ways not just for themselves, but for everyone else. You know, like exactly what Morant excels at. 

Morant is so dangerous when he gets in the paint, which results in multiple defenders being drawn to him. That then opens up shots like this for Jaren Jackson Jr.:

Having Morant back with the team also gives Desmond Bane more space to operate with, which didn't exist when Morant was sidelined. Bane finished with a team-high 31 points, and Morant assisted on nine of those points. This assist specifically exemplifies just how much of an impact Morant has when he's on the floor. He runs a high pick-and-roll with Bismack Biyombo, and, at the same time, Bane is flying around an off-ball screen out to the 3-point line. But because Morant's drawing so much defensive attention, the Pacers lose track of Bane, which leads to this wide-open shot:

But it wasn't just the facilitating, once again Morant showed little rust in scoring despite missing the first quarter of the season. To open up the game he made easy work of Indiana's defense on the first possession with this beautiful finish between two Pacers defenders:

He pretty much got to wherever he wanted all night, which isn't entirely surprising given Indiana's defense ranks 28th in the league. And even when the Pacers cut into the lead at the end of the first half and kept things rather close for the rest of the game, Morant was unfazed. Just look at how he complete just disregards Bruce Brown and drives straight past him for this easy finish:

Between Morant's complete performance, coupled with Bane's 31 points and Jackson Jr.'s adding 21 of his own, the Grizzlies looked like a dangerous team on Thursday. They might be 8-19 on the season, but with Morant back, this team is now prepared to climb up the standings in the West. There's still quite a bit of work to do, but only six games separate them from the final Play-In spot. And there's only eight games between them and the No. 6 seed, which is more than reachable with Morant back in the fold.