The Memphis Grizzlies’ chances of advancing in the playoffs could all come down to the state of Ja Morant’s hand. The star guard suffered an apparent hand injury during their Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon. Although X-rays came back negative, Morant’s status for Game 2 remains uncertain.
Losing Morant for any amount of time would be a significant blow to an already depleted Grizzlies team. Key contributors Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke are already out for the entire playoffs, leaving Memphis with little room for error. Morant’s importance to the team cannot be overstated, and his leadership on the court could be the key factor in advancing past the first round.
The play in which Morant suffered his injury was emblematic of the Grizzlies’ fortunes in the game. Up until that point, the young team had been playing the Lakers tough and keeping the game competitive. However, the loss of Morant seemed to take the wind out of their sails, and the Lakers capitalized on the opportunity to pull away late in the game.
The Grizzlies will need to rally around Morant and hope for his speedy recovery if they hope to have any chance of advancing in the playoffs. The team’s grit and determination have been their calling cards all season, and they will need to lean on those qualities now more than ever. The fate of their playoff run hangs in the balance, and it all centers around the health of their star guard.
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