Despite having his vision affected after he was poked in the eye in the third quarter, star guard Ja Morant had one of the most impressive performances of his career on Tuesday, scoring 47 points – including the Grizzlies‘ final 15 points – to lead the team to a Game 2 victory over Golden State. Morant told reporters after the game that he was having trouble seeing out of his left eye in the fourth quarter, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
“I can see on the middle. I can’t see on the outside. I got punched trying to get the rebound,” Morant said. “I got another good eye over here (on the right side) — 20-20 vision right here. Thank God for my right eye.”
As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer details, the Warriors had no answer for Morant after Gary Payton II left Tuesday’s game due to a fractured elbow, and will have to reassess their game plan for defending the electric 22-year-old prior to Game 3 on Saturday.
When asked after Tuesday’s game about the Warriors’ plan for Morant, head coach Steve Kerr said the club hopes Andre Iguodala (neck) will be available for Game 3, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. However, Iguodala is 38 years old and has battled injuries for much of the season, so Golden State can’t realistically expect him to shut down one of the league’s top scorers.
Here’s more on the Grizzlies/Warriors series:
- Kerr was upset by the flagrant foul that injured Payton and earned Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks an ejection, as Kendra Andrews of ESPN writes. “I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Kerr said. “There is a code. This code that players follow where you never put a guy’s season [or] career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in midair and clubbing him across the head, ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow … He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code.”
- The NBA is expected to further evaluate Brooks’ foul to see if it warrants a suspension, Andrews writes. Since there will be three off days before Game 3 tips off on Saturday, an announcement from the league shouldn’t necessarily be expected today.
- Draymond Green, who briefly returned to the locker room after taking a hit to the right eye, had no regrets about flipping his middle fingers to the crowd on his way off the court, Andrews notes. “You gonna boo someone who was elbowed in the eye and face is running with blood, you should get flipped off,” Green said. “I’ll take the fine. I’ll do an appearance and make up the money. It felt really good to flip them off. … If they are going to be that nasty, I will be nasty too. I’m assuming the cheers were because they know I’ll be fined. Great — I make $25 million a year. I should be just fine.” Green got back in the game after receiving stitches for a right eye laceration, but Kerr said the former Defensive Player of the Year “was struggling” with the injury.