WHERE: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California
WHEN: 9:30 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: NBATV/Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Chandler Parsons (Out, knee), Kyle Anderson (Questionable, Ankle), Dillon Brooks (Out, Knee)
GOLDEN STATE- DeMarcus Cousins (Out, Achilles), Andre Iguodala (Probable, Hip), Shaun Livingston (Probable, Pelvis), Damian Jones (Out, Pectorals)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr, Marc Gasol
GOLDEN STATE- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
The Grizzlies head west to take on the Golden State Warriors. Memphis is trying to knock a two-game losing streak with losses to the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets. The troubling part of these losses were that they both happened at home. It was not the games they needed now looking at a stretch of tough games coming up on this west coast trip. Tonight’s task will be one of the toughest ones of them all-
The Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors are coming off an impressive come from behind win on the road against the Sacramento Kings. Golden State went on a 17-2 run after falling behind late in the game against the Kings. It was a classic Golden State performance of hitting shot after shot connecting on everything. In tonight’s game, the Grizzlies will look to slow down this Warriors team with good defense against a historic NBA offense.
By now, we all know the threats on this Golden State team, and we should be in for a great one as the Grizzlies always play the Warriors tough. The Grizzlies and Warriors have already played once at the Oracle with Golden State winning this contest 117-101 back in early November. Dillon Brooks led the team for the Grizzlies with 18 points, as Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 27 points of his own. It will be another late one for Grizz Nation but definitely one you will want to stay up and see.
Here are two things to note before tonight’s matchup:
Pace of Play
When these two teams face off against each other it is contrasting styles coming from each side. The Warriors have a fast-paced non-stop rhythm while the Grizzlies grind out possessions playing defense first. This year, strangely enough, the Warriors have the 10th fastest pace in the league. It is a change from years past, but they still try and use this mentality on each possession. It is also worth noting that even if the pace is a tad bit slower, they still lead the league in offensive rating, so things have not changed too much overall.
The Grizzlies on the other hand come in with the league’s slowest pace of play rating flipping the league on its head turning the clock back a bit. They are holding offenses to their worst offensive production night after night with slow possessions and great defense.
For tonight’s game, it will be all about making the Warriors feel uncomfortable throughout the whole game. This is a very challenging task, but the Grizzlies have had some success with it before. The team cannot win by playing the Warriors game. Memphis just does not have enough offensive weapons to make that work, so the best alternative is to sit back and continue to grind out the game on their terms.
It will be something to watch from the tip, and the only way for the Grizzlies success is to slow it down as much as possible. If you want to watch a battle within the game, key in on these two styles throughout. Either way, it will be entertaining from start to finish.
Dominating the Paint
As talented as Golden State is, their biggest weakness comes from their frontcourt. They’ve, of course, got Klay, Steph, and KD, but they still have yet to have the dominant rebounder and big man to sure things up in the paint. With DeMarcus Cousins still yet to return and Draymond being a bit undersized, the hole of the team lies with the center position.
Kevon Looney will be the starter in the game tonight, and Marc Gasol needs to torch him. On offense, he may need to play a more traditional role next to Jaren Jackson Jr. and get tough in the low post playing more bully ball then in previous games.
The Warriors give up 49.8 points in the paint which is 10th most in the league which is really one of the only categories they rank in the bottom third in. For comparison, the Grizzlies give up only 42.6 points in the paint per game which is third best in the league. Of all the areas to take advantage of the Warriors, this could be one where the Grizzlies could excel with Gasol and JJJ getting rough in the paint.
With all that being said, my prediction is that the Grizzlies fall in this one. These two past home games have really showed that the team is already running on empty. Mike Conley is carrying the team, and Gasol can only do so much on tired legs. The team around them just will not have enough to keep up with the Warriors, especially at home.
I think it will be lower scoring, but the Warriors will handle this one from halftime on. Another aspect is if Kyle Anderson plays or not. The Grizzlies are already down a few wings anyway, so that will be something to watch before tip.
Spread: Warriors -11.5. Take the Warriors in this one. It will be a slower game than most Warriors games in the Oracle, but it will end up very similar to the last matchup between this two. The spread will be close, but Golden State will barely cover.
Memphis- 105, Golden State- 118