Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant had a substantial wrap on his sore right hand during the team’s shootaround on Saturday.
Morant is a game-time decision for the Grizzlies’ Game 3 matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. He missed Game 2 with the injury.
Ja Morant (game-time decision) had a pretty substantial wrap on his sore right hand at shootaround. pic.twitter.com/xRj5KUTli4
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 22, 2023
Even if Morant is able to go, one has to wonder how effective he will be if his hand is wrapped up just still bothering him.
The Lakers won Game 1 of this series with Morant playing, although he was injured and missed the final stretch of the fourth quarter because of his hand.
Memphis then bounced back at home in Game 2, winning 103-93 without Morant. Tyus Jones stepped up in a big way in that game, getting the start at the point guard spot and doing a little bit of everything .
Jones finished Game 2 with 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the Grizz. During the regular season, Jones averaged 16.8 points, 8.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game in 20 games without Morant.
The Grizzlies’ leading scorer in Game 2 was actually big man Xavier Tillman, who finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Desmond Bane, Jones, Tillman, Dillon Brooks, Luke Kennard and Jaren Jackson Jr. all scored in double figures for the Grizzlies.
Morant, an All-Star this season, is the driving force of the Grizzlies offense, but it’s hard to see the team playing him if he’s going to be severely limited. Morant isn’t the greatest shooter from outside (30.7 percent from beyond the arc this season), so he could be one-dimensional if his hand is too hurt for him to shoot effectively.
The Lakers would catch a serious break if Morant misses this game, especially since the team took home-court advantage by winning Game 1 in Memphis.
Memphis went just 11-10 in the 21 games that Morant missed during the regular season, and the team was just 1-2 in the playoffs last season against the Golden State Warriors when Morant sat out with a knee injury.
The Grizzlies will likely update Morant’s status for Game 3 closer to tip off.
The Lakers and Grizzlies are scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. PST from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.