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At FedEx Forum in Memphis, fans roared their beloved Grizzlies as Ja Morant made his return to the bench after serving his suspension for brandishing a gun while drunk.
Morant, 24, has been a fan favorite ever since joining the Grizzlies last season. Despite his recent controversy-filled past, Morant continues to be one of the best players in the NBA.
After three weeks of anticipation, Ja Morant is back on the Memphis Grizzlies bench to a standing ovation from fans. This show of support indicates that fans have moved past Morant's recent off-court drama and look forward to seeing him back on the court within the next couple of weeks.
Since Morant's return, the Memphis Grizzlies have won six of their last 10 games to remain tied for second place in the Western Conference. However, they remain four games behind Denver with 12 games left to play. The Grizzlies believe Morant's return will help them close out their season strong and make a push at the postseason.
Morant has taken time away from the game to seek counseling and find ways to manage his personal life issues. While he's uncertain how long he will be able to go without playing, Morant is determined to work on improving his physical health and mental state in order to be the best player possible.
He's one of the top young players in the NBA and his return could be huge for the Memphis Grizzlies' playoff hopes if they can get Tyus Jones back into their starting lineup. A rested Morant would certainly help boost their playoff hopes immensely.
Before his suspension, Morant was averaging 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and 6 rebounds per game. This season he has earned several accolades such as 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year and 2019 NBA Most Improved Player award.
On Monday night against Dallas, Morant was allowed to return to the Grizzlies and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Dillon Brooks reported that Morant volunteered to come off the bench in his first game back since his suspension ended to help him get back into the rhythm and work his way back into the starting lineup.
The Grizzlies are eager to have their star point guard back on the court and hope his suspension won't hinder his development as a leader. However, Morant must remain focused and avoid distractions that could cause him to lose focus.
On Monday night, Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant returned to the bench and was met with a thunderous ovation from fans. This marked his first game back since being suspended for an Instagram Live incident that involved flashing a gun while at a Colorado strip club. Although he didn't play against Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, Morant did do some individual work and scrimmage with teammates and coaches alike.
The Memphis Grizzlies have now won seven of their last eight games, including a 1-1 homestand. At 31-13 and just half a game behind Denver Nuggets for first place in the Western Conference, they enter Friday's game against Los Angeles Lakers as 6.5-point favorites.
It has been an incredible stretch for the Grizzlies. They have gone on an 11-game win streak and led the NBA in net rating during that span despite playing a relatively weak schedule.
Throughout this streak, the Grizzlies have spent more than a fifth of their possessions in transition and are leading the league by a wide margin in second quarter net rating. Plus, they feature an elite lineup featuring Jaren Jackson Jr. (a Defensive Player of the Year candidate) and Tyus Jones - one of basketball's premier backcourts.
They're getting great looks at the basket due to their speed and agility, having made three-quarters of all shots attempted this stretch - that's more than any other team in the NBA! Additionally, their 33.3 percent rate at the basket over this span is far better than any other team's rate this season.
Their opportunistic ballhandlers are empowered to go coast-to-coast with rebounds and turn turnovers into fast breaks. Furthermore, they're capable of finishing with alley-oops or acrobatic layups over slower defenders.
This team has been so adept at scoring fast buckets that they have amassed more than half a million points during this streak, more than double their season-long average of points scored.
This success can be attributed to the presence of Morant, who leads the Grizzlies in scoring with 27.1 points per game. He was suspended for the first six games due to his Instagram Live incident but will be eligible to return for Monday's game against Dallas.
Last night, the Memphis Grizzlies faced off against the Dallas Mavericks and Morant was back on the bench cheering his teammates on. This marked Morant's first time being back on court since missing three games due to suspension.
On the court, fans in the arena gave him an enthusiastic standing ovation. They were thrilled to see him back on court and wanted to express their support for Ja.
The Memphis Grizzlies know Morant has been working hard in preparation for his return. They understand he has gone through a lot and this will be an amazing chance for him to put all of the off-court drama behind him and be back playing basketball for the team again.
According to Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal, Morant is expected to return to the court against Houston Rockets on Wednesday and be eligible to play. Unfortunately, he's not listed on the injury report so it appears likely he'll start from the bench as he works to regain his conditioning after his suspension.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Morant's return is how he will manage distractions on the road. With a challenging schedule in the second half of the season, it is expected that Morant will face criticism from opposing teams.
Another concern is how Morant will manage his social media presence. He has previously been criticized for his use of social media, so it's essential that he remains accountable.
Morant may have become overwhelmed in the moment, but he must remember there is a line and he cannot cross it. To stay focused on the game at hand and avoid any distractions from social media platforms, Morant must maintain focus.
He can be sure the team is paying close attention to his every move, making sure he doesn't repeat the errors he made against the Mavericks on Monday.
Thankfully, Morant appears to be taking responsibility for his actions and will no longer use social media. Additionally, he has demonstrated respect towards other players and fans by quickly apologizing if anything goes awry.
Despite their recent struggles, the Grizzlies remain in second place in the Western Conference with 11 games left. Unfortunately, their offense struggles without Morant and they are currently averaging a league-low 109.8 points per game when he's not on the court.
At his first press conference after serving an eight-game suspension, Morant discussed how he plans to reduce outside distractions. He said he plans on decreasing social media posting and focusing solely on basketball. While Morant still wants to be himself, he's willing to change habits or the way he presents himself on social media in order to improve his game.
He's still very active on Twitter, but he plans to slow it down a bit. He has shared many song lyrics and thoughts about the team in recent months, but now his focus will be more focused on basketball than anything else.
Distraction is a problem both at work and home. Whether it's running multiple unrelated apps on your computer or having conversations with friends at a restaurant, distractions can be a real hindrance.
Combatting distractions is the best way to manage them. Write down any feelings or thoughts that cause you to ignore yourself, then take action on them. Doing this will enable you to avoid them in the future and reach your objectives more easily.
If you're struggling to break away from distracting habits, it may be time for a healthier coping mechanism. A simple exercise like taking a walk can be highly beneficial in this regard.
Another example is meditation. This can be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety through deep breathing exercises. Furthermore, having regular meditation sessions will help manage emotions and boost productivity levels.
Distraction techniques can be beneficial for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This mental health condition often causes strong and unpleasant emotions like fear, anger or sadness; in some cases, those affected may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol or drug abuse.