When Ja Morant was forced out of the Western Conference semifinals with a knee injury in Game 3, there’s no denying it completely shifted the rest of the NBA playoff series between the Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.
Golden State went on to win two of the series’ next three games and advance to the Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks, but Morant seems to believe things might have gone differently had he not suffered a postseason-ending bone bruise.
After the Warriors took a three-games-to-none lead over the Mavs by winning Game 3 of the West finals on Sunday, Morant took to Twitter to empathize with a Grizzlies fan lamenting over what could have been.
It’s safe to say the Grizzlies -- even without their superstar point guard for the back half of the series -- put up quite the fight against Golden State. Memphis’ 134-95 rout of the Warriors in Game 5 of the semifinals proved they could still dominate on the court without a fully-healthy team.
The Mavs, on the other hand, have made it close in Games 2 and 3 of the West finals but are just one loss away from being swept by the Warriors.
It's a given that things certainly would have been different for the Grizzlies with a healthy Morant.
But even if they were able to make it past Golden State’s core of playoff veterans, and then Dallas and Luka Dončić, the hard-fought Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics currently show that the road to the Larry O’Brien Trophy wouldn’t have been easy.
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As Morant ponders life in an alternate universe, all the Warriors can do is look ahead as they hunt for a sweep of the Mavs in Game 4 of the West finals at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night.
Only then will their focus turn to winning it all.