WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: NBATV, Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Ben McLemore (Out, Right Foot), Wayne Selden Jr. (Out, Quad), JaMychal Green (Out, Left Ankle)
GOLDEN STATE- Omar Casspi (Questionable, Left Ankle), Andre Igudola (Questionable, Back), Draymond Green (Questionable, Knee)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Andrew Harrison, James Ennis III, Brandan Wright(?), Marc Gasol
GOLDEN STATE- Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green/Jordan Bell, Zaza Pachulia
After a dominant win Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Grizzlies look to keep the momentum going in a primetime matchup against the defending champs. Memphis will need another team effort to keep this start going and notch their second win of the year.
The Grizzlies were one of the only teams to play the Warriors tough last season splitting the four games 2-2. The team just seemed to take it to another gear against a team like Golden State. The defense implemented threw the Warriors off early and Memphis kept fighting.
This year Memphis will have the scheduling in their favor as Golden State will on their second game of a back-to-back both on the road. Last night, they played in New Orleans and had a quick turnaround to Memphis after the game. This may play well for the Grizzlies as they will take any off-court advantage they can, facing this high powered team.
Here are three things to note before tonight’s matchup:
Trying to Stop the Warriors Explosiveness
Everyone knows the Warriors are an incredible super team. They won the title last year and look to be on a track to try and repeat barring any crazy injury. Their style is to run up and down the court as fast as possible scoring at will. That is what the Grizzlies will have to take away tonight if they want to be successful.
Memphis is going to have to think defense first tonight as their backcourt is tremendously better than New Orleans’ backcourt. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson is quite the leap above Jrue Holliday and E’Twaun Moore. It will be a totally different scheme defensively for this game.
Feed the Paint
Matching the Warriors in pace and offense is a tall task, but dominating the game where the Warriors are the weakest is a solid strategy as well. Marc Gasol is coming off an impressive double-double against the Pelicans’ Twin Towers. He will need to have another showing like this if the Grizzlies want a chance in this game. Zaza Pachuila is not stopping Gasol, so the offense needs to rely on him to have a vintage Marc game.
Also, with Curry’s questionable defense at times, Mike Conley will have the opportunity to drive the paint if needed as well. It is crucial that these two have great statistical games.
Replicating the Bench Success
The bench scored a remarkable 53 points in the season opener against the Pelicans. They will need to contribute more of the same type of performance tonight in the Forum. Without JaMychal Green, more minutes will be distributed across the whole roster. This will mean Coach Fizdale will call on Dillon Brooks and Tyreke Evans to have double-digit nights once again.
Mike and Marc will have their games. They will facilitate and keep the game close early, but it will be the rest of the roster to keep the team in the game throughout.
Whether it is a positive or a negative, after the Grizzlies’ two studs this active roster is very close in skill level. It showed Wednesday night as the bench picked up the slack left by Harrison and Ennis. This will be on display tonight. If everyone on the team contributes, it may be another fun night for the Grizzlies.
My prediction is that the Warriors take this one. Golden State is a completely different beast than New Orleans and that will show early on. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Grizzlies will be able to match the offense of the Warriors for a full game.
Dillon Brooks and the bench were a great storyline last game, but it will be a different narrative tonight. I do think Brooks is something special, but against the Warriors would be another level altogether.
The Forum will, of course, be rocking, and the Grizzlies know that they can beat the Warriors. However, I feel the Warriors will pull away late after Memphis runs out of the consistent offense to contend with this team.
Spread: -7.5 I would go pretty heavy on the Warriors. I do think this will be a tough game throughout, but Golden State just has more talent than Memphis which will play itself out in the final score.
Golden State- 116, Memphis- 103