WHERE: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Chandler Parsons (Out, knee), Marc Gasol (Questionable, foot)
GOLDEN STATE- Kevin Durant (Out, knee)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Vince Carter, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
GOLDEN STATE- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Patrick McCaw, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia
The Grizzlies somehow take a step up in competition as they end a week that has not gone so well for them to this point. Memphis has lost two in a row, one in New Orleans and one in San Antonio, and they are back to licking wounds and asking questions about what exactly is wrong with the Grizzlies.
Sometimes it is as easy as acknowledging that there are bad match-ups and good teams in the NBA. The Spurs game was always going to be a tough one, and DeMarcus Cousins of the Pelicans has destroyed many a team in the past. Effort isn’t always the reason these Grizzlies lose- there are times where they simply play against better players and teams on that given night.
In order to split this four-game run away from FedExForum, the Grizzlies have to find a way to defeat the Warriors. Golden State is currently the hottest team in the NBA, having won six straight contests, and they have seemed to steady themselves as they wait for the return of Kevin Durant in the next month or so. Curry is still Curry, Thompson is still Thompson, and Draymond is still Draymond. Even without KD, these Warriors are arguably the best the NBA has to offer.
So it will be a tall task for Memphis tonight. How can the Grizzlies compete?
Get to the Line
Memphis is not going to win a shootout against Golden State. At least not consistently. The Warriors are built for the run-and-gun modern NBA, while try as they might the Grizzlies are still Grit and Grind at their core. So a three-for-three battle plays right in to the hands of the Warriors.
Instead, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and company should look to attack the paint and try to get Warriors bigs in foul trouble. Different versions of the pick and roll, involving different players like Brandan Wright and Andrew Harrison, could allow for Memphis to get rotations defensively crossed for Golden State. An overhelp here, a late side step there, and all of a sudden the Warriors front court is depending on JaVale McGee and David West instead of Pachulia and Green.
That plays in to the hands of the Grizzlies.
Limit the Warriors to One Shot
Goodness knows the Warriors don’t need multiple opportunities to be a dangerous offense. In that way, it makes sense that Golden State is weak on offensive rebounding-20th in the NBA at 9.3 per game, according to basketball-reference.com. It isn’t a priority because they make a ton of shots (#1 in the NBA in field goal percentage) and they emphasize defending (2nd in the NBA in defensive rating) and rebounding the missed shots of their opponents (3rd in the NBA in defensive rebounding).
How does this benefit Memphis? They struggle allowing offensive rebounds to their opponents. How many times have the Grizzlies let opponents score on second and third chance buckets? This can’t happen tonight against a team that doesn’t make it a priority. If Golden State misses, make them pay for it. Chances are if they get a second opportunity, it will go in.
Golden State is 30-4 at home. They boast one MVP candidate in Stephen Curry and perhaps two if you include Draymond Green, a massively important player to the Warriors on both ends of the floor. Memphis beat the Warriors the last time they were at Golden State, but it took a truly historic effort to do it.
I don’t see the Grizzlies being able to do it again. Especially with Gasol either out due to injury or playing on a sore foot...which he shouldn’t do.
Golden State 113, Memphis 104