Ja Morant Blames the Wrong Guy for the Collapse of the Memphis Grizzlies
The second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs in embarrassing fashion by the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. The Lakers put a hurting on the Grizz, handing them their worst postseason loss in franchise history, 125-85.
Grizzlies star Ja Morant, whose season was interrupted by off-the-court issues, said all the right things after the 40-point loss, but he pointed the finger at the wrong guy while explaining how this series went awry.
Ja Morant takes responsibility for the abrupt ending for the Memphis Grizzlies
Overall, the Memphis Grizzlies had a solid season. They were one of two teams in the Western Conference to finish the regular season with 50-plus victories. They earned the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and a meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Grizzlies season was interrupted by an off-the-court issue involving Morant, the team’s face of the franchise. In March, Morant served an eight game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. That stemmed from him brandishing a handgun during an Instagram Live session from a Denver-area strip club.
After the Lakers eliminated the Grizzlies, Morant held himself accountable for his team’s early exit.
“I’ve just got to be better with my decision-making,” said Morant, per ESPN. “That’s pretty much it. Off-the-court issues affected us as an organization pretty much. Just more discipline.”
Morant stressed that discipline and being a better leader for his team are his keys heading into next year.
“I feel like mine is more off the court and on the court — just being disciplined both sides,” Morant said. “Off the court, making better decisions. On the court, being locked in even more. Being a leader of this team, it pretty much starts with me. So however I attack any situation, I know my guys will follow. I’ve just got to be better in that area.”
Morant accepted blame, but he’s not fully at fault for Memphis’ elimination
Morant addressed his on-and-off-the-court issues. He knows he has some growing up to do. He’s not alone on that Grizzlies team. If there is one Grizzlies player who should look in the mirror after the series with the Lakers, it’s Dillon Brooks.
Brooks lit a fire under LeBron James, the Lakers, and their fans after beating the LA in Game 2. He called James “old” and said he’s never done anything against him. Brooks claimed James called him “dumb” after picking up his fourth foul in that second game of the series. That’s when Brooks opened his mouth.
“He’s old. You know what I mean?” Brooks said to reporters after Game 2. “I was waiting for that. I was expecting him to do that Game 4, Game 5. He wanted to say something when I got my fourth foul. He should have been saying that earlier on. But I poke bears. I don’t respect no one until they come and give me 40.”
If any one thing cost the Grizzlies the series it’s Dillon’s mouth. The Lakers came out fired up in Game 3 at home when they manhandled the Grizzlies to the tune of a 35-9 lead after the first quarter. Before the game, James approached Brooks. According to ESPN, James’ message to Brooks, in essence, was, “Are you ready for what’s coming for you tonight?”
Brooks poked the bear and got mauled, and the Grizzlies paid for it.