Warriors-Grizzlies has become embarrassing in wake of Ja Morant injury

SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors and Grizzlies’ second-round playoff series is no longer about basketball.

No. Now it’s all about The Code.

It’s embarrassing for the Grizzlies, the Warriors and the NBA on the whole.

There is a universe where this is an epic playoff series between two outstanding teams. It’s physical, yes, but physicality has always been a key aspect of great playoff series.

But when Dillon Brooks turned playoff physicality into something sinister in Game 2, this series went off the rails.

And as hard-fought as it is on the court, it’s become equally soft off it.

Brooks’ hack of Gary Payton II that caused the Warriors guard to break his elbow in Game 2 “broke the code” according to Warriors coach Steve Kerr. The NBA agreed and suspended Brooks for Saturday’s Game 3.

But in a post-Brooks series, every bump, box-out, and dive is subject to debate: Does it live up to The Code?

And at the end of Game 3, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant thought he found a violation. With the Warriors winning big, Morant and Warriors guard Jordan Poole were battling for a loose ball. In the tussle, Poole grabbed Morant’s knee and, according to Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins “yanked it.”

That play chased the Grizzlies’ All-Star from the game, as he limped off the court and out of the arena.

“I’m going to be very curious to see what happens,” Jenkins said of Poole.

Presumably on his way to the hospital, Morant tweeted to his 1.9 million followers “broke the code” with a video of the play.

And while he deleted the tweet not long after, the narrative had been set, yet again.

A screenshot of Ja Morant's since-deleted tweet after Saturday night's Warriors-Grizzlies game.
A screenshot of Ja Morant’s since-deleted tweet after Saturday night’s Warriors-Grizzlies game.

By the way, the Warriors were wildly impressive on Saturday, winning Game 3 142-112 to take a 2-1 series lead. Poole had 27 points off the bench and the Dubs scored 62 points in the paint.

But who cares about that? Let’s get back to what is apparently the more important issue, at least to Memphis: The Code.

The first two games of this series told a story about the Grizzlies. They could not beat the Warriors straight up, so they had to muck up the game and drag Golden State down into the mud. It’s not a unique game plan, but the Grizzlies felt particularly capable of executing it.

But Game 3 told a different tale.

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