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Ja Morant is disappointed, but vows to be ‘back soon’ after Grizzlies’ exit

Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Ja Morant’s stellar rookie season officially ended on Saturday afternoon after the Memphis Grizzlies fell to the Portland Trail Blazers, 126-122, in the Western Conference Play-In game.

However, the 21-year-old Morant is rightfully holding his head high after the defeat and looking towards the future.

He also had a message of appreciation for the Grizzlies’ fans.

 

Memphis had a rough go in the bubble, winning just two games and losing Jaren Jackson Jr. to a meniscus tear in his left knee. Plus, Morant revealed that he’s been playing with a fractured thumb since facing the Toronto Raptors on August 9.

If Morant was playing hurt, one certainly couldn’t tell. The up-and-coming star posted 35 points on 13-of-28 field goals and eight assists in the biggest game of his NBA career thus far. As Grizzlies reporter Evan Barnes pointed out, Morant’s thumb injury hasn’t slowed down his production.

All season, in fact, Ja Morant lived up to—and arguably surpassed—the expectations that made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Murray State. Over the course of his first 67 NBA games, the point guard averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists while leading the upstart Grizzlies into surprise playoff contention.

Morant also displayed prowess in the clutch and generated a series of highlight-reel plays—nearly eviscerating Kevin Love’s soul. He is widely expected to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award for the 2019-20 season.