WHEN: 7:30 PM CT
WHERE: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: FOX Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley (Out, heel), Chandler Parsons (Out, knee), Wayne Selden Jr. (Questionable, quad), JaMychal Green (Questionable, knee), Brandan Wright (Probable, quad)
GOLDEN STATE- Stephen Curry (Probable, ankle), Omri Casspi (Probable, ankle)
MEMPHIS- Andrew Harrison, Tyreke Evans, Dillon Brooks, Jarell Martin, Marc Gasol
GOLDEN STATE- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia
One of the very best versus one of the very worst. Not the most enticing match-up.
The Memphis Grizzlies begin their last back to back of 2017 tonight as they take on the mighty Golden State Warriors in Oakland. The days of Memphis beating Golden State by 10 are long gone, and these two teams have established who they are. The Warriors are treading water until the playoffs and are still the top seed in the Western Conference, while the Grizzlies are looking down a top-5 lottery pick. There really isn’t much Memphis can do to win this game...
But what can they do to keep it close, and give themselves a shot in crunch time? Some quick keys.
Slow them down
The Warriors are an elite offense whether they are in the half court or in transition. Having four of the top 20 (give or take) players in the NBA on your team will do that for you. But Golden State clearly wants to pick up the tempo- they are 5th in the NBA in pace. Memphis remains one of the slowest teams in the Association offensively, despite looking at their best in transition. Most nights this counter-intuitive process would frustrate Grizzlies observers, but tonight it may help Memphis limit possessions for the Warriors. Less chances to score, less points to build a lead with...at least in theory.
Move, move, move
Memphis cannot hang with the Warriors when it comes to execution on either end of the floor. But what they can do, even if it isn’t as effective as Golden State, is move. Movement off the ball off of screens and movement with the ball off of various pick and roll movements, in addition to emphasizing passing as opposed to aimless dribbling and isolations, will make Memphis more able to create space against an elite Warriors defense. The Grizzlies haven’t been able to do this consistently all season, but tonight would be a great time to start.
Remember the days where you could convince yourself Memphis had a chance in these games? When the Grizzlies would stand toe to toe with the Warriors, when the stat would flash on the screen that Memphis had one of the very best record in the entire NBA against the Golden State monster? Those were better times.
The style Memphis plays will keep it closer than it has any business to be. But the historic talent of Golden State will win the day, in convincing fashion.
Golden State 109, Memphis 93