The Memphis Grizzlies pulled off a stunning 112-105 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Wednesday night, despite missing their star point guard Ja Morant.
Morant, who averaged 26.2 points and 8.1 assists per game during the regular season, was ruled out of the game due to right hand soreness. He suffered an aggravation of soft tissue bruising in his hand in Game 1 on Sunday, when he used his right hand to break his fall after committing a charge against Lakers big man Anthony Davis in the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies announced an hour before tip-off that Morant would not play, leaving a huge void in their offense and leadership. However, backup point guard Tyus Jones stepped up in Morant’s absence and delivered a stellar performance, scoring 18 points and dishing out 10 assists with only one turnover in 35 minutes of action.
Jones was not the only Grizzly who rose to the occasion, as Memphis got contributions from several players to overcome a 34-point night from LeBron James and a 28-point effort from Davis.
Dillon Brooks scored 24 points and played tough defense on James, Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points and 15 rebounds, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 points and seven blocks, and Kyle Anderson chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds.
The Grizzlies showed their resilience and grit in Game 2, rallying from a 13-point deficit in the third quarter and outscoring the Lakers 31-19 in the final period.
They also held the Lakers to 42.7% shooting from the field and forced them into 15 turnovers.
With the series tied at 1-1, the Grizzlies will head back to Memphis for Game 3 on Friday night, hoping to have Morant back in their lineup. Morant’s status will depend on how his hand responds to treatment and testing, according to Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins.
Morant’s injury is a major setback for the Grizzlies, who are aiming to make a deep playoff run after finishing as the No. 2 seed in the West. Morant is one of the most dynamic and explosive players in the league, and his absence leaves a big hole in their offense and leadership.
However, the Grizzlies proved in Game 2 that they are not a one-man team, and that they have enough depth and talent to compete with the defending champions.
They will need to continue to play with the same intensity and teamwork that they displayed on Wednesday night if they want to take advantage of their home-court advantage and pull off an upset over the Lakers.
Final Thoughts: Grizzlies Show Resilience and Depth in Game 2 Win Over Lakers
The Memphis Grizzlies’ Game 2 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers was a statement win for the young team. Despite missing their star point guard Ja Morant, the Grizzlies showed their resilience and depth, rallying from a double-digit deficit and outscoring the defending champions in the fourth quarter.
Backup point guard Tyus Jones stepped up in Morant’s absence, delivering an impressive performance with 18 points and 10 assists. However, it was not just Jones who contributed to the win.
Dillon Brooks played tough defense on LeBron James, Jonas Valanciunas dominated the paint with 23 points and 15 rebounds, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 points and seven blocks, and Kyle Anderson chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds.
The Grizzlies’ victory was a team effort, and it showed that they have the depth and talent to compete with the best teams in the league. While Morant’s injury is a major setback, the Grizzlies proved that they are not a one-man team and that they can win games without him.
Moving forward, the Grizzlies will need to continue to play with the same intensity and teamwork that they displayed in Game 2 if they want to pull off an upset over the Lakers.
With the series tied at 1-1, the Grizzlies will head back to Memphis for Game 3, hoping to have Morant back in their lineup. The Grizzlies’ success will depend on their ability to play as a team and use their depth and versatility to overcome any challenges that come their way.
Overall, the Grizzlies’ Game 2 win was a reminder that in the NBA playoffs, anything can happen, and no team should be underestimated. The Grizzlies showed that they have what it takes to compete at the highest level, and they will look to build on their success as they continue their playoff journey.