Friday is the night. The NBA play-in tournament concludes with one more game at 9:00 PM ET. The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday and will head on the road to face the Golden State Warriors. Whoever wins gets rewarded by playing the #1 Jazz, while the loser will go home and have a full summer to think about the loss.
Memphis has a chance to make this happen. They are a tough, gritty team on D and, finally, primarily healthy, save for Brandon Clarke, who hasn’t been able to get in there. Jaren Jackson Jr. hasn’t had any dominant performances yet, as we continue to wait for him to put big numbers up. But Jonas Valanciunas had 23 & 23 against the Spurs, proving to be a tough guy to stop. GSW is a small team. Could have déjà vu.
Golden State lost a heartbreaker to the Lakers and will try and quickly bounce back. If they cannot, they would miss the playoffs for the second year in a row. Klay Thompson comes back next season, which will help, but right now, that means nothing. Can Stephen Curry and Draymond Green help guide the team back into playoff relevance? It is very possible, so let’s see what happens tonight.
The spread for the game is tight, set at GS -3.5. The over/under is 224.5 points.
Grizzlies Seeking #8 Seed
The Grizzlies are a win away from fulfilling their destiny to become the #8 seed in the West. They fell just short last season of reaching it, with Portland getting in their way over the last few games of the bubble. Let’s remember the last time Memphis was a #8 seed. They defeated the Spurs and were one win away from reaching the conference finals.
The #1 Utah Jazz are not the same team as the Spurs, but it’s still worth mentioning. The keys to victory are pretty simple here. Make guys other than Curry beat you. Limit second-chance opportunities because even if they’re small, GSW gets extra scoring opportunities.
You need to establish JV in the post and have Ja Morant in attack mode. Do all of that, and you might win. But of course, easier said than done.
Dubs Seeking Playoff Return
After only winning 15 games last year, the Warriors landed the #2 pick in the draft. They took James Wiseman, who had a very disappointing, injury-plagued campaign. They could really use his size and length for this game, but they don’t have it. Hopefully, he can make a full recovery this summer.
Stephen Curry has done everything humanly possible to try and keep the team afloat this season, He has played his heart out. Set more three-point records. He has given it his all and landed as an MVP finalist. As usual, he is the main key to his team winning.
Curry will need to score at least 35 to ensure a GS win. When he inevitably gets double-teamed, the players around him will have to step up. Plain and simple.
The game will be close and fun, but the Warriors will get the last laugh.
FREE PLAY: GS -3.5
OVER/UNDER: OVER 224.5
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