Morant: NBA's play-in format is 'extra chip' on our shoulder
Joe Murphy / National Basketball Association / Getty

The Memphis Grizzlies are in the driver's seat for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, but rookie guard Ja Morant thinks the NBA's play-in format diminishes much of the hard work his team put in before the hiatus.

"Honestly, I don't think (it's fair). But, you know, we can't control that," Morant told Rachel Nichols on ESPN's "The Jump." "Only thing we can control is how, you know, we go out and attack each of these games before that decision is made."

Morant added: "I just feel like it's an extra chip. You know, more fuel to the fire, more motivation for us."

Memphis enters the resumption with a 3 1/2-game cushion on the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Sacramento Kings. However, the ninth-place team can force a play-in tournament if it's within four games of the Grizzlies at the conclusion of the "seeding games."

In such a scenario, the No. 9 seed would need to win two consecutive play-in games against Memphis to secure the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

The Grizzlies control their fate, with three upcoming contests against teams vying for the coveted postseason spot.

Memphis hasn't made the playoffs since the 2016-17 campaign.

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Morant: NBA's play-in format is 'extra chip' on our shoulder
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