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The Grizzlies’ season is going to end because of Ja Morant’s fluke injury, and that stinks

By Prince J. Grimes

The Memphis Grizzlies were one of the most exciting teams in the NBA this season. No player exemplified that more than Ja Morant, whose electrifying dunks and fourth quarter takeovers were always a delight to watch. He along with the rest of the team’s young core catapulted the Grizzlies from a No. 8 seed last year to No. 2 this year. That makes the news that Morant is doubtful to play for the remainder of the playoffs all the more devastating to hear.

Morant has a bone bruise in his right knee, the team announced Tuesday. His incredible season, which earned him the Most Improved Player award, is likely over.

This isn’t how anybody wanted to see Morant’s season end, especially considering how it happened. The injury didn’t come on one of his fun aerial assaults that often end with him on the ground. It was fluke. While it didn’t break the code, as he insinuated, you can understand why he’d be so frustrated with the injury.

This isn’t how anybody wanted to see the Grizzlies’ season end either. If they were going to go down, it was supposed to be with guns blazing — as they have been all season. But in all likelihood, they’ll also be done soon.

With Morant, the Grizzlies were giving the vaunted Golden State Warriors a series. They trailed 2-1 but were a layup away from being up 2-1. Morant was averaging more than 38 points, and his presence was cause for optimism that they could bounce back from a blowout in Game 3. Without him, things seem a lot more dire — even if they were 20-5 without him this season.

If blowing a lead they held for all but three minutes on Monday wasn’t deflating enough, Morant’s injury will be. Tipico Sportsbook has Memphis as 4.5-point home dogs for Game 5, and I don’t love their chances to cover. But even if they do find a way to win, they’d have to do it two more times and that’s simply not going to happen. It’s an unfortunate way for their season to end after being one of the best stories all year.

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