The Portland Trailblazers and the Memphis Grizzlies faced off in the NBA first ever play in game for the playoffs. It a match that showcased two of the NBA’s most dynamic point guards in the game Damian Lillard and Ja Morant.
Morant is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year this season with Zion Williamson missing more than half of the year with leg issues. He is also the best player on the Grizzlies and has already shown that he will be a special talent in this league. It something the ABC analysts, Mike Breen and Mark Jackson have noticed about the promising rookie.
“The Memphis Grizzlies have a great young point guard, he is only 21, but Ja Morant has shown that he is going to be Rookie of the Year,said Breen. What a special player he is already in this league.”
“We have seen a lot of guys come in this league win Rookie of the Year and be the best player on the team. We have seen that movie before with all do respect, but how many have seen be the best player and also be the leader of your franchise? That’s Ja Morant and everybody embrace him, and they love the mentality, and they love his unselfishness,” said Jackson.
“The ability to make plays for your teammates. It is not all about you they double team you, they send a big towards you somebody is open. He puts his teammates in position to score the rock and when dare him to make plays, he has the ability to get in the paint and knockdown shots. How about this, we have heard of seven seconds or less, he is on the other side of the floor gets the rebound push it goes coast to coast in four seconds. That getting it done.”
Morant put on a show on Saturday afternoon with 35 points, four rebounds, and eight assists, but wasn’t enough to hold off being eliminated from the playoffs as they fell to the Blazers 126-122.
Right before the start of the fourth quarter, Blazers’ head coach Terry Stotts was asked by Lisa Salters, what they have to do differently defensively against, Morant?
“Well, it easier said than done, but we have to keep him away from the basket. He is explosive and gets to the rim. So, I don’t know about changing our coverage, but making sure we have more help in the paint,” said Stotts.
After the game, Damian Lillard revealed that Morant is a star as a rookie and didn’t want to let him beat them by himself.
“We just wanted to make it for him. Obvisously, he is super explosive a lot of speed,a lot of athleticism, and he had some tough finishes. We wanted to our best at making it hard for him and we did a good enough job to get the win,” said Lillard. “But, like you said, he is a hell of a player, he made some jumpers tonight, he got to the line a couple of times, he made plays, but that is why he is a star already as a rookie because of what he is capable of. I’m just happy we were able to overcome that.”
Earlier this season, Dallas Mavericks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, shared that Morant is going to be dangerous.
”He is really shifty. I like his game a lot. The way he moves and his body type I enjoy watching those types of players, [who are] explosive, and he is dangerous,” said Porzingis. “I think if he continues you to work on his game he is going to be dangerous no matter where he is at on the floor. So, I wish him and luck in the future.”
Morant shared that Porzingis comments were big time coming from someone of his talent.
It is worth noting that Mike Breen stated that if Morant can shoot the three consistently, he would be unguardable.
The Blazers will face the Lakers in a one vs eighth seed match up on Tuesday.