How Ja's ‘infectious' energy has impacted Dubs-Grizz from bench


Ja Morant didn’t play in Game 5 but made sure his presence was heard after the Grizzlies’ blowout win over the Warriors at FedExForum on Wednesday night. 

Morant, who has missed the last two games and is listed as doubtful for the rest of the postseason with a bone bruise in his right knee, led “Grizz in seven!” chants after his team stomped the Warriors by 39 points while facing elimination in the Western Conference semifinal series. 

That presence and energy from an injured Morant is the reason Memphis went 20-5 playing without him in the regular season and will be the secret ingredient behind keeping the Grizzlies’ postseason alive. 

One day before Game 6, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins talked about the importance of Morant’s off-the-court impact. 

“Yeah, I always talk about his spirit,” Jenkins told reporters on Thursday. “You know, obviously it's been disappointing news not being able to have him the last couple of games, but he has great spirit with his teammates in the locker room, the voice even at halftime, before the game and after the game is being felt and heard, talking about things, adjustments, bouncing ideas off with his teammates in-game has been phenomenal. 

“He's been doing that all season long, whether he's been active or inactive. But then, the energy that you see on the bench, I mean, he's the biggest supporter of his teammates. That's the spirit that we have on our team. It doesn't matter who's on the floor and who's giving it their all and being successful out there. We're all going to support each other, and he's been the first one to stand up and cheer for his teammates and it's very infectious. We had great energy last night. We're going to need him down the road and I know he's going to be a big leader for that.”

Morant hasn’t played since getting injured during Game 3 in San Francisco. 

But as Jenkins mentioned, he’s visibly been the hypeman for the Grizzlies from the bench. 

While they’re coming off the blowout win over Golden State, the Grizzlies still face elimination as they head to the Bay for Game 6. 

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Morant won’t be able to flex his athleticism in what’s expected to be a high-intensity matchup at Chase Center, but the Grizzlies will need his contagious spirit and a solid performance from their active roster to force a Game 7 back home. 

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