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Ja Morant — NBA’s play-in format for final playoff spot unfair to Memphis

Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies appreciated the place they stood when the NBA was shut down in March.

Now with the NBA restarting, Morant says he thinks it is unfair that the padding the Grizzlies constructed between themselves and the closest playoff contenders within the West may show irrelevant.

“However, you already know, we will not management that,” Morant mentioned in an interview on ESPN’s The Bounce that aired Thursday. “Solely factor we will management is how, you already know, we exit and assault every of those video games earlier than that call is made.”

The Grizzlies are the 8-seed and maintain a 3½-game lead over three groups. However within the NBA’s bubble format, Memphis must be 4½ video games forward when the eight seeding video games are full to keep away from a play-in sport or video games to find out the eighth and final playoff workforce.

“I simply really feel prefer it’s an additional chip,” Morant mentioned, when requested if the format may present the Grizzlies with a chip on their shoulder. “You understand — extra gasoline to the hearth, extra motivation for us.”

Three of the Grizzlies’ eight video games shall be in opposition to different West groups combating for the final playoff spot beginning Friday, when Memphis faces the Path Blazers, who’re 3½ video games again. The Grizzlies play the Pelicans on Monday. The Kings are additionally 3½ video games behind Memphis.

On Sunday, Memphis performs the Spurs, who’re 4 video games again.

The Grizzlies had 17 video games to play when the season was shut down on March 11.

“Coming into the season, I believe we have been projected to be 29th, and have a look at us now,” Morant mentioned on The Bounce. “So we simply use that as gasoline, proceed to work. We’re all very hungry. We all know what we’re able to. Simply exit and play.”

Morant will profit from one other adjustment the NBA has made for its restart, which begins Thursday. Earlier this month, the league mentioned the eight seeding video games wouldn’t depend towards postseason awards, basically ending the campaigns for awards, together with rookie of the yr, which Morant had been a convincing favourite to win over the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, who missed a lot of the season after present process surgical procedure on his knee.

“It positively feels good,” Morant mentioned. “As of now, I can not say that is my predominant focus. You understand, I’ve some video games to play, attempt to make the playoffs. However simply the place I got here from, what I’ve carried out to get right here, the issues I went by, positively an honor. I am blessed.”

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