Grizzlies' Ja Morant on Timberwolves' Patrick Beverley: 'We Ain’t Ducking No Smoke'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 14, 2022

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 13: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies handles the ball during the first half  against Patrick Beverley #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolve at FedExForum on January 13, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee. 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.  (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Justin Ford/Getty Images

Ja Morant knows that Patrick Beverley is going to try to get in his head when the Memphis Grizzlies play the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of their Western Conference playoffs matchup. 

He's not too worried about it. 

"You remember that quote I said? We ain't ducking no smoke," Morant told reporters Thursday. "We run up the chimney. It's simple as that. ... Somebody comes to this organization—they know we can't back down. That's soft person tendencies. We don't got no soft guys on this team."

Morant was referencing a comment he made back in February. 

"There ain't no running in the M, man," he told reporters at the time. "We climb up the chimney. We ain't ducking no smoke. We're gonna let everybody know we're here. We're gonna play hard, we're trying to get a win and if you don't like it? Oh well."

And Morant and Beverley exchanged a few words on the court when the two teams met in January:

This series is going to be fun.

For one, these are two of the exciting, up-and-coming teams in the NBA. And they split the season series, 2-2, with one of the games going to overtime. 

But these two teams have also developed a reputation this season as brash, trash-talking groups. To this point, both have back up that swagger.

"That's our identity, and that's going to continue to be our identity," Morant told ESPN's Tim MacMahon in February. "Some guys don't like it, but it gives us an edge. It gives us a boost, a lot of energy out there on the floor, so we're going to continue to do it."

Then there's Beverley, who is notorious for his high level of intensity and knack for getting under his opponent's skin.

That has seemed to rub off on his teammates—in March, for example, they took aim at Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, with Beverley pinching his nose after forcing a Westbrook turnover and Karl-Anthony Towns pretending to look around in confusion for the ball after a Westbrook air ball later in the game.

So yes, you can expect smoke between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves. Morant is here for all of it.