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Will Ja Morant Play Tonight in the Grizzlies’ In-Season Tournament Opener vs Trail Blazers?

Published 11/03/2023, 10:49 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies’ suspension has cost the team dearly. Yet to win a match, the Grizzlies will be moving to the in-season tournament with the title of a “winless” team. For the above question, the answer is a big ‘No’. They will have to continue for 20 more games without Morant. It still would have been okay if Memphis’ other key players were available. But this season seems to be an injury-filled one. The Grizzlies are also not exempt from it.

It almost feels like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were the regulars for the majority of NBA injuries. And now, it’s being shared among the masses. Except for the above two. Going back to the topic at hand, let’s take a look at how Morant’s team will fare against the Blazers.

Will the Blazers smother the Grizzlies?

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The addition of Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies roster has certainly given them a defensive advantage. But there is only so much Smart can do on his own. The Grizzlies reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Jaren Jackson Jr. has also rallied to provide as much help as he can. Yet their perimeter defense is struggling. And the current defensive rating of the team does not help at all either.

The Blazers had their fair share of problems as well. Though they have gotten two wins consecutively, they lost their first three games in the season opener. Going up against the Grizzlies, they will be down two players – Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons, who underwent surgery for a torn ligament in the right thumb.

 

But Portland still has Shaedon Sharpe, who is stepping up to the occasion. Veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon will also join him. But with Sharpe’s appearance tonight listed as probable, the Grizzlies might just have a chance. Another important aspect is the Grizzlies’ home-court advantage. All in all, if the Grizzlies play their cards right, they might just get their first win of the season in the first-ever NBA in-season tournament.

Why the Memphis Grizzlies had a 0-5 start to the season?

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We have already mentioned a few of the reasons above. Poor defensive rating, absence of Ja Morant (mainly), and injuries. The Grizzlies had to start the season without their center big man, Steven Adams. Seeing as how things are going so far, they will have to continue without him for the rest of the season.

Read More: Ja Morant’s December NBA Return Set to Cost a Dismal Heartbreak for Grizzlies

Though they have tried to mitigate the situation by signing Bismack Biyombo, the situation is still not very promising. The other key players who are out with injuries are Brandon Clarke, Santi Aldama, and Derrick Rose. The heavyweight has fallen on to Smart, Bane, and Jackson Jr.

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Though they have put up great scores, without the rest of the team pulling their weight on both ends of the floor, the Grizzlies will be looking at a long stretch of losses. Here’s to hoping tonight can be game-changing for Memphis. Even a ‘Grizzly’ deserves a break, wouldn’t you agree?

Watch This Story: 50 Days Away From Return, Ja Morant Teases Grizzlies Reunion With 4 Words

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Written by:

Geisha Pulimoottil Don

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Geisha is an NBA content writer at EssentiallySports. Having years of experience as a content writer, she focuses on providing in-depth coverage of the basketball entities. The increased use of technology in studying the game and its intricacies intrigues her.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja