Ja Morant and the young Grizzlies didn’t feel like waiting another year for the playoffs.
Watching the Memphis Grizzlies battle the Golden State Warriors was a hell of a treat for NBA fans today. Their overtime thriller, which ended 117-112 in the Grizzlies’ favor, was another classic like the Warriors vs. Lakers games the other day.
It was a high-drama game that saw another signature performance for Steph Curry (39 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL), but the ageless Warriors star just couldn’t get them over the hurdle.
The Warriors deserve credit for competing. They came back from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to cut it to five before the final period, and even had a chance for a game-winning shot at the end of the fourth.
However, they just couldn’t deny the will of Ja Morant (35 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST, 4 STL), who continues to show his potential to become one of the league’s best players in the near future. Stars need to make the big plays, and Morant was the one to lead the key run that won them the game.
With the Warriors up 109-107, Morant took matters in his own hands by first drawing so much attention in the paint, then assisting Xavier Tillman for a three that gave them the lead. He then made two floaters on back-to-back possessions, with the second happening with only 4.5 seconds left to seal the game for the Grizzlies.
It takes a special kind of self-confidence to perform like that under pressure, and that young man has it in spades.
Now that they’ve punched their ticket to the big show, their reward is having to deal with the Utah Jazz, who finished the season with the NBA’s best record. They’ll have their hands full, considering that Donovan Mitchell is planning to return for Game 1, but if anything this looks like a chance to get some good experience under their belts.
Memphis showed that they can overcome adversity against both the Spurs and Warriors, two seasoned teams with excellent coaches. I don’t expect them to win their upcoming series, but with an average age of under 24-years-old, this young team isn’t going anywhere for the next few years.
They’re going to be a team to watch in the coming seasons. For now, let’s give Morant and the rest of them the credit they deserve.
Welcome to the big show, Ja. You’ve earned it.