Pete, BK, and Fish discuss the @JaMorant injury in the 4th Quarter.
Positive thoughts for 12. pic.twitter.com/tBmYvSLFof
— Bally Sports: Grizzlies (@GrizzOnBally) May 8, 2022
Without him, the Grizzlies played outstanding defense, frustrating Stephen Curry and company and holding a lead for much of the game.
But Curry finally broke loose for 32 points, while Memphis was unable to manufacture points and ultimately fell, 101-98.
Trailing the series three games to one, the Grizzlies got the terrible news on Tuesday: Morant had been diagnosed with a bone bruise and will likely be out for the rest of the postseason.
It’s a brutal blow to a team that had impressed everyone and surpassed the expectations of most by winning 56 games and coalescing throughout the season into a true force.
Despite what some may say, it seems safe to say that the Grizzlies have no hope without this season’s Most Improved Player.
Wait, Didn’t Memphis Do Well Without Morant This Season?
Yes, the Grizzlies somehow managed to win many of the 25 regular season games that Morant missed this season.
When he was out for 12 games in late November and December, they won 10 of those contests, which included a 73-point beatdown of the Oklahoma City Thunder and a 15-point win over the Miami Heat.
Morant then sat out nine games towards the end of the schedule, and Memphis took the first seven games of that stretch, which included double-digit victories over the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks and an eight-point win against the Phoenix Suns.
Grizzlies fans will likely point out how well Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. have played without Morant, and how excellent the team is on the defensive end, especially without Morant in Game 4.
Those are fair points, as well as reasons to believe that the Grizzlies won’t simply lay down and allow the Warriors to finish them off.
However, this is a much different situation for Memphis than the ones they faced during the season when Morant couldn’t play.
The Warriors Are A Different Animal Right Now
Winning in the regular season without your franchise player is one thing, but it’s much harder to do so in the playoffs.
Come playoff time, teams are much more prepared, they pay more attention to detail, defenses are much tougher and more intense and players simply care a lot more.
Any weaknesses the Grizzlies have without Morant, especially on the offensive end, will get exposed at this time of year.
Grizzlies with heck of effort on defense. Warriors last 6 points from ft line. Problem for Memphis, they can’t get a big basket down stretch without Morant.
— Brent Martineau (@BrentASJax) May 10, 2022
Furthermore, they are playing the Warriors, a team that has won three NBA championships in recent years with the core of Curry, Thompso,n and Green, as well as head coach Steve Kerr.
Facing a Game 5 in which they will have the chance to move on to the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors have to be expected to come out looking to go for the kill.
It will take nothing short of a Herculean performance from Memphis to simply survive for one more game, and even if it does that, Game 6 would be back in enemy territory in San Francisco.