Basketball News: On his comeback to the NBA, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant was a twofold disappointment against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
His team lost, but more importantly, the franchise star was disappointed by the reaction of certain fans, who requested him to “sit back out” after his team established an NBA record for margin of victory in a 152-79 hammering of the Thunder earlier this month.
Morant had 16 points, six rebounds, and eight assists in 28 minutes after returning from injury and the league’s COVID-19 protocols following a 12-game layoff.
Hearing such statements was difficult for the 22-year-old as he tried to put his injury issues behind him, especially because he is the team’s leading scorer with 24.1 points per game.
According to Morant: “It was frustrating for me to watch this squad and the sort of basketball they were playing while I was out.
“We defeated this team by a score of 73, only to lose the next day when I faced them again. It’s aggravating. Coming back out and trusting my knee after missing 12 games was already in my brain. Basketball is my haven, and when I’m playing, I’m at my best. As a result, it’s really aggravating.
“I was running down the court during the game when several of my fans courtside told me I needed to sit back out. So I’m not sure what they were hoping to get out of it. That, in my opinion, only adds to the problem.”
Critics will point out that the Grizzlies are 10-2 without him in the lineup and 9-11 with him, as well as the fact that in the previous matchup with the Thunder, Memphis set team records for bench points (93) and field goals made (60).
But none of this takes into account the fact that Morant, who also stopped following the game on Twitter, is the type of player who can lift a team like Memphis from mediocrity to potential contention.
And he’s only in his third season in the league, but he’s already led Memphis back to the playoffs after defeating Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game.
In his post-game interview, it was evident that the young man had been influenced by the erratic reaction of some of the FedExForum’s Monday night attendees.
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