With the series now tied at one game apiece, Ja Morant is confident the Memphis Grizzlies are back on their winning ways and will not be derailed.
The Grizzlies bounced back in Game 2 and started out with a bang. Up by double digits at the end of the first half, Memphis looked like they were ready to secure the W when Morant left the floor after getting hurt in the third quarter.
Luckily, Morant made a thrilling return in the fourth quarter and went on to lead the Grizzlies to victory, 124-96. He finished the game just shy away from a triple-double--23 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds.
Same fire. Same energy.
In his on-court post-game interview, Morant acknowledged his “fault” in the previous game and let his doubters know that the Grizzlies are keeping the “same energy” heading into Game 3.
"It was my fault. I put guys in tough situations last game," Morant said. "My job was to come out and correct that and that's what I did. No point to be mad about game one. There's a lot of basketball to be played. You see what happened."
“A lot of people that said we’re gonna make the Finals,” he continued. “After we lost Game 1, they switched up. Tell ’em to stay on that side they was on. We don’t want them over here no more. We got that same mindset coming into the next one. Same fire. Same energy."
This mindset makes Morant a perfect fit for a small market team. He's not just the most electrifying player in the NBA right now. He's all about loyalty.
A team effort
The Grizzlies did a tremendous job on the defensive end, limiting Timberwolves’ scorers, Karl Anthony-Towns and D'Angelo Russell to just 26 points combined. Only Anthony Edwards managed to rack up 20 points for Minnesota.
On top of that, Memphis also improved its efficiency from beyond the arc. After being outshot 16 to 7 in Game 1, the Grizzlies clapped back and nailed 11 3-pointers in Game 2.
Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins, on the other hand, reckoned that a lopsided game was a byproduct of team effort and perfect game plan execution.
"I think, No. 1, it's just executing our game plan," Jenkins assessed post-game. "I thought the communication was great. I mean, you're not going to stop them. They're still going to get to their spots on the floor. Can you just make it as tough as possible?"
Game 3 will tip off on Thursday at the Timberwolves’ home at Target Center in Minnesota.