Turnover to Grizzlies-Lakers: Ja Morant injury?

The Lakers defeated the Grizzlies in the first round of the 2023 playoffs. They did it in a titanic game, a wonderful collective effort with Aursin Reaves and Rui Hachimura of great heroes and LeBron James along with Anthony Davis at a great level. The victory (112-128) allows the Angelenos to get ahead in the tie (0-1) and get a field advantage that they did not have. Now, on the night of Wednesday to Thursday they will have the second round, also in Memphis, and in a meeting of vital importance … especially for the Grizzlies, that they cannot afford to go to Los Angeles with a 0-2 against that would be practically definitive and would leave them on the brink of the abyss. They are obliged to win and equalize the tie before visiting the Crypto Arena and scratching a match there. At the moment, all the pressure is on them.

And there is a variable that nobody counted on and that could be decisive for the future of the second round: Ja Morant’s right hand. With less than 6 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the point guard made a penetration to the basket and Anthony Davis forced a great foul on offense. He had no intention of hurting his rival, who, when he fell to the ground, leaned badly on his hand, which bent completely. A very ugly image that was hurting for a while. Morant had to leave and did not enter the track again. After the game the news broke: he had done a lot of damage to his hand and couldn’t even make a fist. The first tests have ruled out something serious, but the discomfort is there. And his presence for the next assault is, at this time, doubtful.

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Morant was not putting together a good performance until the moment of his injury: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists; but 6 losses and a -8 with him on track. Much persecuted by Jarred Vanderbilt, he suffered a lot with the ball in his hands and it was difficult for him to distribute. A critical situation for the base, highly questioned this year after the image in a club of striptease with a gun in hand that it has unraveled the chemistry of a young group, emotionally weak and that gets carried away too much by what they feel at all times. That’s what the Lakers played last night, who took the lead, lengthened possessions and allowed everything to flow in the right direction.

Now, it just remains to be seen how far Morant’s injury goes and how that affects the series. The point guard has declared that the discomfort is evident, that he can barely move his hand and that he had trouble even taking off his socks after the match. A variable that can mark the series (on a day in which Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tyler Herro have also been injured, without knowing the severity) and that can open a window for the Lakers. That they have every intention of winning the tie and moving on to the Conference semifinals. Ja Morant’s hand leaves everything up in the air. That he has nothing broken suggests that he will return at some point in the series. The problem is when. AND as things will be at that time. We will see.

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