The Memphis Grizzlies are facing a virtual must-win game on Wednesday when they host the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the first round of the NBA playoffs.
They lost Game 1, 128-112, as they were unable to contain L.A.’s array of offensive threats while going flat offensively in the second half after scoring a solid 65 points in the first half.
Ja Morant hurt his right hand in the fourth quarter after committing a charging foul, and his status for Game 2 has been in doubt.
According to Shams Charania, he is officially out for Wednesday’s contest.
Grizzlies say Ja Morant is out for Game 2 vs. Lakers.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 19, 2023
This is a massive blow for Memphis, as Morant is the face of their franchise, not to mention their chief offensive driving force.
Although he had an underwhelming Game 1 with just 18 points and six turnovers, he averaged 26.2 points and 8.1 assists per game in the regular season.
The Grizzlies will likely struggle to score at times without him, and their feared transition game could resemble a plane that is trying to fly without all of its engines functioning normally.
However, their fans can avoid panicking, as the team has been in this situation before.
In last year’s Western Conference semifinals against the Golden State Warriors, Morant suffered a season-ending knee injury in Game 4, but even without him, they took Game 5 before getting eliminated in Game 6.
Memphis will likely come out struggling, but they have other capable offensive players, such as Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr., who can give them a chance at victory.
Jackson had 31 points on Sunday on 13-of-21 shooting, and he will need another performance like that one in order for his team to even this series.NEXT: Fans React As Anonymous NBA Star Lays Into The Grizzlies