Golden State Warriors vs Memphis Grizzlies

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Tonight, the Golden State Warriors (21-20) will visit the Memphis Grizzlies (18-19) for the first of two back-to-back games at the FedEx Forum. This will be the first meeting between the two Western Conference foes this season. Heading into the series, the Warriors were in ninth place in the Western Conference, while Memphis occupied the 10th spot. The top eight teams will participate in the NBA playoffs this season.

The Warriors have gone 2-2 since the All-Star Break, losing to both LA teams, but also beating the NBA’s best Jazz. On Wednesday, the Warriors beat Houston 108-94, handing the Rockets their 18th consecutive loss. Draymond Green recorded a 16 point, 12 rebound, and 10 assist triple-double. Jordan Poole hit six threes on his way to 23 points, while Steph Curry added 18 points. Curry sat out the fourth quarter after bruising his tailbone and is doubtful for tonight’s game. The Warriors broke the game open in the second quarter, outscoring the Rockets 37-17. The Rockets would get no closer than 14 points in the second half.

The Grizzlies lost their first three games coming out of the All-Star Break, but broke that losing streak with an 89-85 win over Miami. Ja Morant hit a lay-up with 1.2 second left, then Kyle Anderson stole the inbounds pass and sank two free throws to get the win. Morant, Anderson, and De’Anthony Melton all scored 13 points in the win.

In addition to Curry, Eric Paschall and James Wiseman are both out because of health protocols. Kelly Oubre is doubtful with a sore foot. The Grizzlies are fully healthy other than Jaren Jackson, who is out for a few more weeks with a knee injury.

Warriors Play First of Two Key Games Against Memphis

The Warriors are facing some adversity going into a very important weekend back-to-back with Memphis. Both teams are neck and neck in the ninth and tenth playoff position, and losing two games to the Grizzlies could put the Warriors in 10th place, and could keep them out of the playoffs if they are tied with the Grizzlies at the end of the season. Getting one of these games is very important, but they may have to do it without their star. Steph Curry (29.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 6.2 apg) bruised his tailbone in the win over Houston and is doubtful for tonight’s game. The Warriors hope to have him back in the lineup Saturday. Adding insult to injury, Kelly Oubre was listed as doubtful with a sore foot.

If Curry is out, the Warriors will turn to Andrew Wiggins, who has averaged 17.2 ppg and 4.5 rpg, for the bulk of the scoring. Draymond Green is coming off his third triple double of the season, and will take on an expanded role in the offense with the absence of Curry and Oubre.

Offensively, the Warriors are 13th in the NBA in effective field goal percentage (54.2%), 23rd in turnover percentage (13.2%), 30th in offensive rebounding percentage (17.4%), and 15th in free throws per field goal attempts (.191). Defensively, Golden State is fifth in opponent’s effective field goal percentage (52.0%), eighth in opponent turnover percentage (13.5%), 25th in defensive rebounding percentage (76.2%), and 29th in opponent’s free throws per field goal attempts (.228).

Grizzlies Hope To Move Up With Good Weekend Against Warriors

Memphis is in prime position to move up in the Western Conference standings as they host a short-handed Warriors team this weekend for two games. Of course, that means the Grizzlies will have to get out of the offensive funk that they are in after the All-Star Break. Memphis has scored over 120 points just once since the break and has not eclipsed 100 points in their last two games. That starts with the trio of Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, and Jonas Valanciunas.

Ja Morant leads a balanced Grizzlies offense with 19.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, and 7.6 apg. Jonas Valanciunas has averaged 15.9 ppg and 11.9 rpg. Dillon Brooks has averaged 15.7 ppg and 2.9 rpg, while Kyle Anderson has added 12.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, and 3.3 apg. As a team, the Grizzlies have an effective field goal percentage of 52.0%, 23rd in the league. Memphis is fourth in the league in turnover percentage (11.9%), eighth in offensive rebounding percentage (23.9%) and 26th in free throws per field goal attempts (.174).

Defensively, the Grizzlies are 22nd in the NBA in opponent’s effective field goal percentage (54.6%), first in opponent turnover percentage (14.7%), sixth in defensive rebound percentage (79.4%), and 18th in opponent free throws per field goal attempts (.200).

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

When making this pick, pay close attention to the injury wire. Stephen Curry’s and Kelly Oubre’s presence or absence will make a profound impact on this game. Without that duo, the advantage swings to Memphis, who will be deeper, and will have their normal balanced offense. With Curry and Oubre listed as doubtful, I’ll go ahead and take Memphis up to a -5.5.


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Full-Game Total Pick

The Warriors will be without three of their four leading scorers, and Memphis has been in an offensive funk since returning from the All-Star Break. That doesn’t leave a lot of hope for an OVER total, even with a low predicted total. As a general rule, I’m taking the UNDER in this one.