May 9, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) sits on the bench against the Golden State Warriors during the second quarter of game four of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
- Ja Morant is doubtful for the rest of the playoffs with a bone bruise in his right knee
- Memphis’ series odds have moved to a distant +1500
- See below if we think there is any value in betting the Grizzlies with these longer odds
After blowing Monday’s extremely winnable Game 4 of their best-of-7 series with Golden State Warriors, the Memphis Grizzlies are just a loss away from elimination.
The next day’s news wasn’t much help, either.
Memphis announced that star guard Ja Morant is doubtful for the rest of the playoffs with a bone bruise in his knee. Morant injured the knee in the fourth quarter of Game 3, and sat out Game 4. This series could be over as soon as Wednesday night’s Game 5.
Whether he injured the knee from a Jordan Poole pull of his leg, or banging legs with Klay Thompson while contesting a jumper doesn’t matter at this point, only that Morant’s absence has plummeted Memphis’ series price.
Grizzlies vs Warriors Odds
|Team||Odds to win Series|
|Golden State Warriors||-4000|
Odds as of May 10 at FanDuel Sportsbook
After a Game 2 win to tie the series 1-1, the Grizzlies looked like solid a value bet, at +210 odds while boasting the best player in the series in Morant. Now, you’ll need erratic confidence to roll with them at +1500 odds.
Memphis’ odds to win the Western Conference have also sunken to the bottom of the teams remaining, at +4000.
Morant the Memphis Engine
It’s not a stretch to say that the newly-minted 2022 NBA Most Improved Player has been one of the must-watch performers in these playoffs.
Morant was putting it on the Warriors in Round 2, averaging 38.3 points, 8.3 assists, 6.7 rebounds and three steals. Included in that was a career-high 47-piece he hung on GState to win Game 2 106-101.
As if 47 points wasn’t INCREDIBLE enough, @JaMorant scored the final 15 points to lead the @memgrizz to the Game 2 win and even the series at 1-1! #GrindCity pic.twitter.com/4sUG8KZSaL
— NBA (@NBA) May 4, 2022
He also missed a layup attempt at the end of Game 1 to win the game, the Dubs escaping with a 117-116 victory. Even in a 142-112 blowout, Morant was unstoppable, going for 34 points and seven assists, while drilling four triples before the injury sidelined him with 6:19 left in the fourth quarter.
In nine playoff games, Ja averaged 27.1 points, 9.8 assists, 8.0 rebounds and a pair of steals, posting a 54.9% true shooting percentage of and a 30.4% usage rate.
Warriors Steal Game 4
Despite Morant being out, there was much optimism about Memphis’ chances of getting back into the series in Game 4. After all, the Grizzlies were a sparkling 20-5 in the 25 games Ja missed this year.
Memphis played a tremendous game, and coupled with a sluggish Golden State start — they had missed their first 15 three-point attempts — the Grizzlies led for almost the duration of the game.
Today the @memgrizz announced the following medical update: pic.twitter.com/szmKeTFdHa
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) May 10, 2022
They just didn’t have the finishing punch to close things out. After holding the Warriors to 38 points in the first half, they allowed 39 fourth-quarter points, getting outscored by 10. A pair of Steph Curry free throws with 45.7 seconds left gave the Dubs their first lead of the game.
The Grizzlies’ other supporting cast that carried the weight when Morant was missing in the regular season are out of sorts. Desmond Bane, who was a man on fire against the Timberwolves in Round 1, has been slowed by a back injury. He’s putting up just 9.5 points on 36.5% shooting from the field vs the Warriors.
def one of the worst feelings for me but proud of my brothers 🤞🏽🐻
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) May 10, 2022
Dillon Brooks, who returned after a one-game suspension for his flagrant foul on Gary Payton II, was just 5-for-19 from the field in Game 4, including a 2-for-9 mark from deep, as he scored 12 points and eight assists. Jaren Jackson Jr is averaging 20.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks, but his three-pointer to tie Game 4 was blocked by Draymond Green.
Fade Memphis’ Series Price
Had the Grizzlies been able to land the plane in Game 4, there might be a way you could talk yourself into Memphis taking two of he next three to advance to the West Final.
This Golden State team is not your dynastic-level Dubs in the 2010’s, but the Steph-Klay-Draymond title-winning framework is there, and they are plenty capable of closing this one out, especially with Morant watching from the sideline.
Steph Curry poured in 18 CLUTCH points to lead the @warriors to the comeback win in Game 4 after not having led the entire game! #DubNation@StephenCurry30: 32 PTS, 5 REB, 8 AST, 4 3PM
The Warriors lead the series 3-1
Game 5: Wed. 9:30pm/et on TNT pic.twitter.com/BubBHpz37l
— NBA (@NBA) May 10, 2022
Also, the numbers don’t lie: there are 269 playoff series in NBA history that have gone to 3-1. Only 13 teams have ever climbed all the way back, a miniscule 4.8% success rate.
If you’re looking to bet on Memphis because of those distant odds, move away from the series pick, and build up that juice on a single-game parlay for Game 5 instead.
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.