Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies want respect and earned a ton with their 116-108 win over the Warriors at FedEx Forum on Tuesday night.
That hunger for respect led to a viral moment late in the fourth quarter when Morant knifed through the Warriors' defense and finished at the rim despite being fouled to seal the Grizzlies win with 28.9 seconds remaining. After Morant scored, he walked toward the stands where a young fan wearing a Warriors jersey hoped to get a high five from the Grizzlies star. Instead, Morant just stared him down and said a few words to the boy.
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After the game, Morant apologized for the interaction but wasn't happy to see a Warriors jersey in his home crowd.
"He was disrespectful with that jersey on," Morant told reporters. "We Memphis. It looked like he wanted to cheer, but he had that jersey on. I apologize to him, but in that moment, bro, take that jersey off and then dap me up. Somebody find his information. I'll send him one myself."
He then took to social media to further comment on the stare.
Morant and the Grizzlies are starting to become a foil for the Warriors and very well could grow into a Western Conference rival as Golden State's rebooted dynasty tries to get back to the NBA Finals.
"They're obviously fueled by everything that Ja does and how explosive he is," Stephen Curry said of the Grizzlies. "They obviously got us last year in the play-in game and got us twice this year, and we got them once, so it's a natural evolution of a team trying to take that next step.
Golden State Warriors
"The big part is you talk about it right now; you've got to show it in the playoffs. We want to be there to try to do that. I know they want to, too. Nobody's trying to win the verbal conversation right now of who we are in January."
The Grizzlies now have won 10 straight games with their last loss coming on Dec. 23 to the Warriors. Memphis' current streak has included wins over the Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Brookyln Nets and two over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now sitting at 29-14 and in fourth place in the Western Conference, just three-and-a-half games back of the first-place Suns.
Morant's star and the Grizzlies trajectory are both on the rise. Having handed the Warriors two of their 10 losses this season, Morant thinks it's time to put some respect on the young Grizzlies' name.
"I bet you we've got it now," Morant said after beating the Warriors. "I bet you we've got it now."