Grizzlies star Ja Morant savors dramatic return to action

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Ja Morant walked towards the locker room with his chest out and a proud expression on his face as the fans were still reeling from what they had just seen.When Morant turned left down a hallway, he said, “I also kept receipts.”

After giving Memphis a glimmer of hope on Tuesday night with a spinning game-winning shot that led the team to a 115-113 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, it is difficult to imagine another reason why he would not do so. After falling behind by 24 points, the Memphis Grizzlies staged a comeback that tied for the second-largest comeback in the National Basketball Association (NBA) this season. This was accomplished by a player who was playing his first game in eight months after serving a 25-game suspension.Guard Desmond Bane remarked that “it felt different out there,” referring to the fact that “our guy back, our leader” was back.

Grizzlies star Ja Morant

When Memphis called a timeout with 9.6 seconds remaining in the game and the score was tied at 113-113, it was the moment that Memphis’s faith in Morant was tested to its fullest extent.Morant, who was exhausted, sneaked into the tunnel near the bench to take puffs off an inhaler just before the start of the fourth quarter. His father, Tee, was sitting a few feet away in the raucous crowd, which included LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, who had won the Heisman Trophy.Morant made a suggestion for the final play while his calf muscles were on the verge of cramping.

For Jaren Jackson Jr., would you be interested in running a post-up for him? In his memory, Bane recalled the point guard asking.According to Morant, who was describing the reaction of his teammate, “He told me, ‘(expletive) no, you’re getting the ball.'”With Herbert Jones and Dyson Daniels serving as guards, the result was the game-winning shot from the 24-year-old player.

Grizzlies star Ja Morant

Even though he had been absent for a considerable amount of time and received a lot of negative attention as a result of his absence, the sequence highlighted the enormous belief that the team still has its leader.This is not a mistake: He had a slow start, but he ended up scoring seven points and dishing out three assists in the first half, which helped the Pelicans build a 24-point lead. Morant didn’t start to show his true potential until the third quarter, when he scored 13 points and dished out four assists in that single frame. He then went on to score another 14 points in the fourth quarter, shooting 5 of 8 from the field. The final six points for Memphis were scored by Morant.

Nevertheless, it was obvious from the beginning that the team was not quite prepared for the explosive speed and style of play that Morant possessed. The point guard was responsible for eight assists, but he could have racked up more if his teammates hadn’t mishandled a couple of passes that they weren’t quite ready for.Morant stated that he was able to acquire some “eye-opening” realizations during his suspension, which altered his perspective on life. Nevertheless, he chose not to delve into specifics regarding the actions taken to rectify the behavior that resulted in him being placed on the bench twice over the course of a period of four months.

Grizzlies star Ja Morant

“The change will be in my decision-making, and how I go about my daily life of being an NBA player, a father, a role model, a brother, and a son,” mentioned Morant. “The change will be in my decision-making.”The phrase “protecting my peace” was also mentioned by Morant. That may imply that he has acquired, through the process of therapy, improved methods of coping with the stress that he discussed in Memphis in March of last year, following the initial eight-game suspension that was handed down by the league.

Morant recognizes that his actions carry much more weight than his words, regardless of what he says.It’s possible that this is the most significant thing that Morant learned from this experience.There was a lot of support that I received from [my support system]. In addition to that, they got a little bit on my a–,” he stated. Not only did I believe that it was necessary for me to learn from me during this process, but I also believed that it was necessary for them to do so. We are all guilty of making errors. It is clear to me how [the circumstance] led to changes in them as well. Without a doubt, it elevated not only me but also my family and my team to a higher level. I do not wish that it had occurred

Grizzlies star Ja Morant

However, despite the fact that Morant has expressed regret for the current predicament of the team, there is nothing that he could have done to prevent this string of injuries.In addition, the year 2022 now Marcus Smart, the Kia Defensive Player of the Year, has missing 15 consecutive games due to a foot injury, and Luke Kennard, a sharpshooter, has been sidelined for the past 15 games and has missed a total of 18 games due to a knee injury. For the eleventh time, veteran guard Derrick Rose was unable to participate in Tuesday’s game due to a hamstring injury.

However, key bigs Steven Adams (knee) and Brandon Clarke (achilles) are out for the season. In the meantime, they should all return in the near future.Now that Morant is back, the Grizzlies need to start piling up wins in order to get back into the running for a spot in the Play-In Tournament to compete for the championship. Memphis currently holds the thirteenth spot in the Western Conference with a record of 7-19, trailing Phoenix by six and a half games for the tenth and final Play-In berth.

There are still 56 games left in the season, and the Memphis Grizzlies have a legitimate chance of making it to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. Only two of the 152 previous teams in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) that had won six or fewer of their first 25 games were able to qualify for the playoffs. These two teams were the Baltimore Bullets in the 1952–1953 season and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1984–1985 season.Memphis needs to finish with a record of 44-12 in order to match the 51-31 record from the previous season. In light of the fact that there is such a small margin for error, even with Morant back, that might be too ambitious.

Grizzlies star Ja Morant

Just playing is the most effective way for Morant to get himself back into the best possible shape for the game. In spite of this, the Grizzlies will be keeping a close eye on how they manage the superstar’s playing time over the course of the next few games, which is anticipated to be a relatively short period of adjustment.Against New Orleans, Morant played for close to thirty-five minutes.”I’m going to be mindful of how many minutes he plays early on as he gets his game legs underneath him,” said Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins. “I feel like he’s getting his game legs underneath him.” When it comes to the types of stints that he plays, I will pay attention. I have a sense of what that is like.”

Pay close attention to the nuances of Morant’s game as you move forward in order to determine whether or not the guard made effective use of the time away from the court. Morant continued to travel with the team and participate in morning shootarounds while he was suspended. He also continued to practice with the team.According to Jenkins, the two-time All-Star utilized the time to add to his collection of accomplishments.While Morant was suspended, he spent a significant portion of his time working with assistant coach Blake Ahearn. The guard’s base, footwork, shot preparation, and hand placement were all subject to minor adjustments that were implemented by the two.

Grizzlies star Ja Morant

Jenkins stated that the results that they have been tracking over the course of the past two and a half months have been fantastic.Over the course of the game against the Pelicans, the two-time All-Star put some of that work into practice.It is likely that Morant will continue his efforts to improve his performance off the court as well. It was before his return that he had a meeting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and he is eager to continue the conversation.Morant stated, “He told me to just stay locked in and enjoy the moment,” and he was so right. In spite of the fact that I am back playing, I intend to continue to interact with him on a more frequent basis in order to further develop our relationship.

 


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