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Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker get Grizzlies’ fans excited with Ja Morant hype

Grizzlies, Ja Morant, Dwyane Wade, Candace parker

Count Candace Parker and Dwyane Wade among those excited about the growth of Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies.

During Tuesday’s NBA on TNT pre-show breakdown, the former Tennessee Lady Volunteer, 2008 No. 1 WNBA draft selection, and legendary Los Angeles Sparks forward exchanged overtures of the Western Conference upstarts with the former Marquette Golden Eagle, 13-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA champion — in which both lauded not only Morant’s continued ascent into stardom but the Grizzlies’ resolve in trying to make the 2021 NBA playoff picture.

For the first time all season, the Grizzlies have posted back-to-back empty injury reports. Jaren Jackson Jr. is back after a 58-game absence from a torn meniscus. Jonas Valanciunas, Justise Winslow, and De’Anthony Melton are all fit and clear.

After missing eight games with a let-ankle scare earlier in the season, Morant has only improved with each passing month. In April, the Dalzell, South Carolina native is averaging 20.1 points, 6.9 assists, and 5.2 rebounds with 50.7% shooting from the floor, 41.4% shooting from the arc, and 66.3% shooting from the stripe — with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Over the last five games, he’s been even better: 29.2 ppg, 7.6 APG, 6.6 RPG, 59.3% shooting from the floor, 45.5% shooting from the arc, and 70.8% shooting from the stripe — as well as 1.6 steals per game.

A rare road sweep of the Portland Trailblazers — the very team that eliminated the Grizzlies in the 2020 Disney Bubble play-in tournament — has all but catapulted Memphis (31-29) into the No. 8 seed with 12 games to play. Portland (33-28) currently holds the No. 7 seed, while the Dallas Mavericks (34-27) boast a 2 1/2 game lead on the Grizzlies for the coveted No. 6 seed — which is the Maginot line to avoid the 2021 No. 7-10 play-in extravaganza.

It’s fun, fun stuff. Parker and Wade are well in tune.