Ja Morant 'Looking Forward to More Battles' with Warriors' Steph Curry: 'Fav Matchup'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 14, 2022

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 3: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors talks with Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies during Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 3, 2022 at FedExForum 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies were eliminated from the 2022 NBA playoffs by the Golden State Warriors on Friday night, but the All-Star point guard is already looking forward to his next showdown with Stephen Curry.

Morant, who missed the final three games of the second-round series with a knee injury, posted a message on Twitter after the season-ending loss:

Ja Morant @JaMorant

fav matchup. 💪🏽 looking forward to more battles 30.. <a href="https://t.co/qsBkINpjBD">https://t.co/qsBkINpjBD</a>

The 2022 NBA Most Improved Player was off to a tremendous start in the series before the injury. He averaged 38.3 points, 8.3 assists, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 threes and 3.0 steals while shooting 50.6 percent from the field.

Memphis still trailed the series 2-1 despite Morant's standout performances. It split the first two games without him in the lineup but couldn't keep pace with the star-studded Warriors on Friday night.

"Ja is one of the best point guards in this league, so you guys know that obviously it would change," Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks told reporters. "But we made do with what we had."

Klay Thompson led the way for Golden State with 30 points in the series clincher. Curry wasn't far behind with 29.

After injuries derailed the Warriors' last two seasons, they've re-emerged as championship contenders and are now just eight wins away from their fourth title since 2015.

All of the Dubs' key contributors remain under contract for next season, so if the Grizzlies want to get through the West and make a push toward the first championship in franchise history, they'll likely have to get by Curry and Co. at some point in the journey.

"They know that we're going to come every single year," Brooks said. "We're young, they're getting old so they know we're coming every single year."

A healthy Morant is a key piece of the puzzle. Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins said Wednesday the dynamic guard shouldn't require surgery during the offseason, which bodes well for his chances of being ready for the start of the 2022-23 campaign.

Based on Morant's comments after Friday's loss, it sounds like the first thing he'll do after next season's schedule comes out is circle the matchups with Curry.