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NBA

Grizzlies’ Ja Morant set to miss Game 4 against the Warriors

A controversial foul in Game 3 has cost the Grizzlies their best player as he’s now out injured, where do they go from here?

Paul Rudder
Update:
Grizzlies’ Ja Morant set to miss Game 4 against the Warriors
D. Ross CameronUSA TODAY Sports

With the news confirming that the Grizzlies’ star won’t play in Game 4, the team’s hopes of getting the conference finals just took a major blow.

Grizzlies’ Ja Morant set to miss Game 4 vs Warriors

According to comments from Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins on Sunday, point guard Ja Morant will not play in Game 4 of his team’s second-round series against the Golden State Warriors. Morant sustained a knee injury in the second half of Saturday’s Game 3 loss to the Warriors. Jenkins went on to confirm that Morant’s injury did in fact stem from the moment Warriors’ guard Jordan Poole tugged on his knee, when apparently reaching for the ball. As a result of the interaction, Morant was taken out of the game and did not return.

Grizzlies’ Ja Morant has his say

Post game Morant would actually take to social media where tweeted the words “broke the code,” only to delete the tweet after. The statement was of course made in reference to the words spoken by Warriors coach Steve Kerr when addressing a similarly contentious moment back in Game 2, when Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks committed a flagrant foul on Warriors guard Gary Payton II. After a hard fall and Payton’s visible discomfort, it was confirmed that he had suffered a fractured elbow as a result. Brooks would be ejected for his actions and later suspended for Game 3. In contrast, it seems Poole will not face any punishment from the league for his part in Morant’s injury.

Warriors’ Klay Thompson weighs in Ja Morant’s injury

“Me, personally. I’ve been through a tough knee injury. And I don’t think there’s any malicious intent from Jordan,” Those were the words spoken by Warriors guard Klay Thompson when addressing the accusation made by Morant against Pool. Indeed, Thompson was not happy with Morant’s words. “I don’t even think he’s strong enough to affect somebody’s knee but we’re not out there trying to hurt people or trying to club people in the back of the head on a fast break. We play the game the right way.”

What have the Grizzlies lost in Ja Morant?

To be frank, Morant has had a stellar series up to this unfortunate moment. With an average of 38.3 points, 8.3 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game, the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year has quite simply been on fire. That being said, it’s worth mentioning that the Grizzlies have actually to get to where they are without their star for considerable periods of time. Earlier this season Memphis orchestrated a 20-5 as Morant watched from the sidelines due to injury. The end result of that stretch was the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference heading into the playoffs.

On the other hand, Golden State is a different animal all together. In minutes where Morant has not been on the court, the Grizzlies have been sorely outscored, which is to say they have largely been carried by Morant in this series. If there is a silver lining it’s that Brooks will be back in the lineup having served his suspension which will bring stability. Regardless, assuming there is no unexpected u-turn in Morant’s status, the reality of the situation remains the same. The Warriors lead the series 2-1, and by virtue of their Game 1 win in Memphis have the ever important home court advantage. Can the Grizzlies play the kind of basketball that they have on various occasions this season, when Morant was out? Time will tell, but if there is one thing that’s certain, for them to do so it will take a whole lot of effort.

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