MEMPHIS, Tenn — When the Grizzlies went 10-2 without Ja Morant, they had our attention here in Memphis.
But last night's victory over the Warriors, and their franchise record 10-game win streak? This has everyone's attention.
The Grizzlies are everywhere on sports networks and on social media. A big part of that is Morant's nightly production of highlight-worthy plays. But the attention also comes from how Memphis continues to defy all odds as they keep winning. Even as they're down starters. Even through the toughest part of their schedule.
After a three-game skid, they did not have Dillon Brooks against Sacramento. Desmond Bane responded with 28 points as the Grizzlies got back in the win column.
In Phoenix, against the reigning Western Conference champions, Ja dropped 33 including the game-winner.
At home against the Lakers, LeBron ran up a triple-double, but Morant posts 41 in a 104-99 win. They closed out 2021 with eight players unavailable, but with a 13-point win over San Antonio.
Kevin Durant and James Harden? No problem. A 14-point win in Brooklyn. In Cleveland, Ja delivered his second game-winner of the streak, a key steal and the Grizzlies final eight points in their sixth-straight win.
After making easy work of the lowly Pistons, the Grizzlies went for a weekend trip to LA. Steven Adams entered health and safety protocols as Morant sat against the Clippers. Brooks exits the game with an ankle injury, but Memphis still leaves Crypto.com Arena 2-0 after topping the Clippers and the Lakers for a second time.
And then there was last night. Steph Curry dropped a triple-double while Klay Thompson was playing in just his second game back.
But all anyone is talking about is the Memphis Grizzlies, their 10 wins in a row, and their spectacular point guard.
After the game, Ja was asked how close he believes the team is to getting respect.
"I bet you we've got it now," he responded. "I bet you we got it now. Go on social media."
So we did. Sure enough, several national basketball analysts were lining up to apologize for sleeping on this young team.
On ESPN's First Take, Monica McNutt took the praise a step further.
"I do think Ja Morant will be the next small market guy to bring a championship to his city."
Championship. In Memphis? The only thing crazy about that statement is that it is not crazy anymore.
After Utah's loss to Cleveland Wednesday night, the Grizzlies are alone in third place in the West. The third-youngest team in the NBA is a bonafide contender, and it's all happening right here in Memphis.