By finishing as the eighth seed for the Play-In Tournament in the West, the Golden State Warriors were given the benefit of two shots at making it to the West playoff bracket.
After suffering a narrow 103-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 7-8 matchup of the Play-In Tournament, the Warriors host the Grizzlies in a win-or-go-home contest.
While the winner taking the eighth and final playoff spot in the West and faces the Utah Jazz in the first round, for the loser, the offseason kicks in.
Where to Watch
Date: Friday, May 21
Time: 9:00 p.m ET
TV: TSN (Canada) and ESPN (United States)
Location: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
Both teams heavily rely on their defence to help them win games. Over the course of the regular season, the Warriors finished with the fifth-best defence while the Grizzlies ranked seventh-best.
Draymond Green, a Defensive Player of the Year finalist, is a huge reason why Golden State can boast of their top five defensive rating. However, it's clear that their success is completely predicated on Stephen Curry's offensive explosions and how well the opponent can restrict him.
The former two-time league MVP clinched the 2020-21 league scoring title with an average 32.0 points per game at the age of 33 and completely changes the face of the Warriors offence when on the court. Just take a look at these on/off numbers of the team's offence:
The Warriors offense this season- StatMuse (@statmuse) May 16, 2021
Steph ON: 10th in the league
Steph OFF: Worst in the last 5 years
MVP-level impact. pic.twitter.com/5jbKHhr7GZ
Does Curry have another superhuman game inside of him to carry an inexperienced cast of the Warriors to the postseason? Only time will tell.
Irrespective, the rest of Golden State's roster will have to ball out for the second consecutive game and support Curry because it's clear that on some occasions, even an efficient 37-point night from him won't be enough as the team experienced in their 7-8 matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Grizzlies' defence is sparked by the young guns creating opportunities. The team ranked top of the charts in steals which is a huge reason why they lead the league in fastbreak points while ranking third in points off turnovers.
On the other hand, Memphis takes care of their offence by committee, as they had as many as seven players averaging double-digit points during the season. However, at the front of the pack is their starting center - Jonas Valanciunas.
The 6-foot-11 beast in the middle averaged career-highs of 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds in the 2020-21 season. He's a big reason why Memphis led the league in points scored in the paint at 55.8 per game.
His 48 double-doubles tied for third-most this season and only Russell Westbrook and Nikola Jokic recorded more. At one point, he registered 16 consecutive double-doubles to set a new Memphis franchise record.
The Warriors clinched the season series 2-1 with the games decided by an average winning margin of 11.0 points.
Their most recent contest, which was played on the final day of the regular season, was a high-stakes entertainer.
Curry exploded for 46 points, leading the Warriors to victory and the eighth seed while the Grizzlies slipped to ninth after both teams entered the final day with the same record of 38-33.
Damion Lee, Health and Safety Protocols - Doubtful
Kelly Oubre Jr., left wrist soreness - Out
Klay Thompson, right Achilles tendon repair - Out
James Wiseman, right meniscus tear - Out
Sean McDermott, left foot soreness - Out
Spread: Warriors -4.5 (-110), Grizzlies +4.5 (-110)
Warriors Money line: -200
Grizzlies Money line: +174
Over/under: 221.0 (-110)
Odds courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook
Picks and Predictions
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): Golden State Warriors
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): Golden State Warriors
Benyam Kidané (@BenyamKidane): Golden State Warriors
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Golden State Warriors
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