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Ja Morant on not fearing West: ‘I said what I said, and I mean that’

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - FEBUARY 12: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies goes to the basket during the game on Febuary 12, 2023 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Ja Morant caused a stir earlier in the season when he was asked about the teams the Grizzlies had to be concerned about and he mentioned the Celtics but no team in the West, “Nah, I’m fine in the West.”

The Grizzlies didn’t exactly run away with the West — they have lost 9-of-12 — and the conference felt open enough that the Mavericks added Kyrie Irving next to Luka Dončić, and the Phoenix Suns shocked the league and became instant contenders with a blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant.

You didn’t really expect that to change the stance of the cocky Morant, did you? Here is what he said Sunday after the Grizzlies lost to the shorthanded Celtics, via Khari Thompson of the Boston Globe.

“I don’t care. Honestly. I said what I said, and I mean that,” Morant said on Sunday. “The confidence I had when I said that is the confidence that got us to the point we’re at now, being a top team in this league.”

“Yeah, my confidence will never change,” he said Sunday. “I don’t care who got something to say about it.”

Of course Morant remained that confident — but the Grizzlies aren’t scaring anyone in the West, either. One of the things that grates on other teams in the league is the Grizzlies’ talk trash and carry a sense of entitlement despite not having won anything yet. If they are going to win this season they have to get better on the road (11-17 away from the FedEx Forum), get better in the clutch (-8.9 net rating in games within five points in final five minutes, 25th in the league), and it would help if Jaren Jackson Jr. can stay out of foul trouble.

Morant can say whatever he wants about the West, but he and the Grizzlies will have to prove it in a way they have not done yet.