clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors Game Preview

Tonight’s game has a big fight feel.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (28-14, 14-8 home) vs. Golden State Warriors (30-9, 12-6 away)

WHEN: 7:00 PM CT

WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: NBATV/Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURY REPORT:

MEMPHIS: Steven Adams (Questionable, Health and Safety Protocols), Yves Pons (Questionable, ankle), Dillon Brooks (Out, ankle)

GOLDEN STATE: Draymond Green (Out, hamstring), James Wiseman (Out, knee), Gary Payton II (Questionable, ankle), Otto Porter Jr. (Questionable, shoulder)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams

GOLDEN STATE: Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney


The Memphis Grizzlies have been the talk of the NBA world lately. After a weekend trip to Los Angeles to convincingly sweep the Clippers and Lakers, Ja Morant’s second consecutive Western Conference Player of the Week award, and multiple Desmond Bane social media shoutouts from ESPN and someone named Halsey, America’s Team is riding high on the vibes of a nine-game winning streak. The roster is as confident as they have ever been, and more and more folks across the country are acknowledging the current greatness of the Memphis Grizzlies. They have even moved up to #2 in the NBA.com Power Rankings!

Of course, that means there is still another squad seen as better than Memphis. If only the Grizzlies had a chance to prove they are the best the Association has to offer against such a team...

Oh. Wait. They do.

The #1 team in that ranking, the Golden State Warriors, are in Memphis tonight for what feels like a big fight against the Grizzlies. Both teams are down key players (Dillon Brooks for Memphis, Draymond Green for Golden State). Both teams have superstar point guards (Steph Curry of the Warriors, Ja Morant of the Grizzlies). Both teams are familiar with each other, from last season’s play-in where the Grizzlies reigned supreme to the last time Memphis took a loss all the way back on December 23rd against...you guessed it...the Golden State Warriors.

A Western Conference Finals preview? There’s a long ways to go before that reality comes to be. For tonight, it’ll be a chance for the Grizzlies to be “the man” by beating “the man” when it comes to the current state of the NBA.

Here’s how Memphis can get it done.

Have the superior star

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Sometimes, it is simple as best on best and winning that battle. There of course are other keys to victory beyond just the Ja vs. Steph showdown, but be honest - none of them are as tantalizingly fun. Morant has become the most exciting NBA player to watch not named “Steph Curry” this season. The All-Star nod is all but guaranteed. Now, All-NBA honors are the hope alongside loftier aspirations - only truly special talents get “MVP” chants in opposing arenas. Morant enjoyed that in Brooklyn recently. Curry has enjoyed that throughout the NBA for years.

They do it in different ways. Curry is the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA. Morant is one of the league’s toughest covers because of his remarkable speed off the dribble coupled with his added propensity to hit pull-up midrange looks and threes. But both stir the drink offensively for their respective clubs, and both will play a huge role in the outcome of this game.

A draw isn’t enough. The Warriors will be able to disrupt other facets of the Grizzlies offense. Morant has to win this one on one matchup. The good news is he’s never been more up for the massive challenge that beating Steph Curry is.

Jaren Jackson Jr. needs to thrive with Ja

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

With Draymond Green out for this game and Klay Thompson still working himself back in to game shape, it will fall on Andrew Wiggins to be the consistent #2 option for the Warriors. He’s been playing at a career-best level this season, taking advantage of the chance to see more space to work with offensively because of the...sigh...”gravity” Steph brings to the floor. He is 2nd on Golden State in points per game, and has a game that can see him score across all three levels offensively.

Memphis has a player that is capable of doing that as well. He’s just bigger - a lot bigger.

Jaren Jackson Jr. played arguably his most dominant game of the season against the Lakers on Sunday night. His stats jumped off the page, but even more impressive was the film he was putting up in terms of highlights. He was unguardable with a head of steam off the bounce to the rim and maintained that aggression throughout the game. Defensively he was a menace, thriving on that end as he has all season long, this time posting 7 “stocks” including 6 blocks. He is a monster on that end, and when he is scoring the way he did against the Lakers he’s the best two-way player on the Grizzlies.

That dude is better than Andrew Wiggins. And that dude puts Memphis over the top if he shows up in this game.

The Prediction

Golden State is favored by 1.5 points against Memphis in this game. Essentially a toss-up...and that’s exactly the way it should be as these two red-hot teams square off. The Warriors have a more experienced core, and if Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton II both play their depth is comparable to that of the Grizzlies. But in a game of stars on “National TV” (NBATV counts) the two main stars of Memphis will have a little bit more shine at home.

Golden State could absolutely end the streak in this game. But the Grizzlies young kings of Morant and Jackson Jr. will grow up a little bit more in this one...and lead Memphis to their 10th consecutive win.

Memphis 112, Golden State 109

For more Grizzlies talk, subscribe to the Grizzly Bear Blues podcast network on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and IHeart. Follow Grizzly Bear Blues on Twitter and Instagram.