To participate in a sport during the regular season is one thing, but to play that same sport in a playoff atmosphere is a totally different ball game. When a team advances to the playoffs, the game-to-game intensity, physicality and pressure elevates to a higher level. The first round of the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs officially began in mid-April. Sixteen teams earned an opportunity to make a run in the playoffs, and hopefully compete for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
For the second year in a row, the Memphis Grizzlies earned the opportunity to play in the post-season. The previous year, the Grizzlies won 38 regular season games, and were able to slide into the playoffs by clinching the final Western Conference spot. As the eighth seed, Memphis battled the number one seeded Utah Jazz in the first round. It didn’t end well for the Grizzlies, as they lost the playoff series by a count of four games to one. This year the Memphis Grizzlies are back, and they have their sights set on the ultimate prize.
Led by star point-guard Ja Morant, the Grizzlies cruised to a 56 win season and clinched the number two seed. In the first round of the playoffs, Morant and the Grizzlies were matched up against the Minnesota Timberwolves and their young star Karl-Anthony Towns. The T-Wolves got off to a good start as they were victorious in game one. Morant and the Grizzlies responded with a 28-point blowout victory in game two. After four games the series was tied 2-2. Game 5 was a pivotal game for both Memphis and Minnesota. With 3.7 seconds left in the contest, the Grizzlies and Timberwolves were dead even at 109-109. After catching the in-bounds pass, Ja Morant drove to his left and made an acrobatic game winning layup. The Grizzlies closed out the series three days later with a 114-106 victory.
By advancing to the Western Conference Semi-Finals, Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies earned a golden opportunity to play host to Steph Curry and his Golden State Warriors. In Game 1, Ja Morant scored 34 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Warriors won by a score of 117-116. Game 2 Morant increased his productivity by scoring 47 points and leading the Grizzlies to a 106-101 victory. Morant is gradually elevating his status from star to superstar. He has placed himself in the playoff spotlight. He’s not alone in the spotlight, as he shares it with a person who scored 0 points during the playoffs. As a matter a fact, this person doesn’t even play on the team.
Tee Morant is the father of Ja Morant. He’s been thrust into the spotlight for multiple reasons. You can start with his personal appearance. Tee looks like the R&B singer Usher’s long lost twin. When the Grizzlies battled the Timberwolves, Usher attended game 5, and the two sat next to each other. The arena took advantage of the opportunity as they featured Usher and Tee on the Lookalike Cam during a timeout. Also during the Grizzlies-Timberwolves series, Tee received a lot of television time due to his friendly verbal exchanges with the Timberwolves star player’s father Karl Towns Sr. They made a bet involving the loser wearing the winning son’s jersey.
Some fans have criticized Tee because they feel he is purposely doing things to make his presence known. At the conclusion of the series against the Timberwolves, a reporter asked Tee about his son’s performance, and Tee responded by stating, “Ja played like trash.” After game 1 of the Grizzlies-Warriors series, Tee was caught on camera hugging Steph Curry. Before game 2 of the Grizzlies-Warriors series, Tee sat next to Steph Curry’s father. While sitting next to Dell, Tee sported a “proud supportive black dad shirt.”
Some people say Tee is doing too much, and others think he’s doing a great job of being a supportive dad. Tee has been there for his son every step of the way, and now he is enjoying the fruits of the labor. Ja Morant suffered a knee injury during game 3 and his status is labeled as doubtful for Monday night’s game 4. Grizzlies fans are hoping for a speedy recovery due to the fact the Warriors have a two games to one lead going into Monday night. Their is a good chance Ja Morant won’t play in game 4, but for game 5 it’s possible he will make his return to the court, and Tee will make his return court side.