The Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors are set to battle it out in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. In the regular season, the Grizzlies took three out of the four games played against the Warriors, including an OT thriller. However, in the playoffs, when put up against a fully equipped and energized Warriors team, the Grizzlies will likely face a greater challenge.
The 2nd seed Grizzlies are coming off of a hard-fought six game series against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 3 of these games, the Grizzlies found themselves battling back to win, after heading into the fourth quarter down by double digits.
The Warriors breezed through the first round, defeating the Denver Nuggets in just five games. Despite concerns about the health of Stephen Curry, the two-time MVP averaged 28 points in just 30 minutes of play.
Let’s take a look at how the series may play out.
Warriors vs Grizzlies Series Preview
Keys to a Grizzlies Victory
The biggest key to success for the Grizzlies would be containing the Warriors Splash Trio of Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole. However, this is no easy task. In the postseason, the Warriors currently boast the highest offensive rating. Nonetheless, Memphis has an elite defensive squad, ranking 3rd in postseason defense. They have one of the best defensive anchors in Jaren Jackson Jr, who leads the league in blocks and is also a great perimeter defender. The grizzlies are also great at forcing turnovers as they have great perimeter defenders in players like Desmond Bane, Kyle Anderson, and Tyus Jones.
Containment may be tough to ask. Hence, it is crucial that the Grizzlies’ Big Three bring their A-game, and leader Ja Morant is confident they will. “Going into any matchup, we’re taking ourselves over anybody. We’re very confident. We put in the work.” Morant said. Although the former Rookie of the Year nearly averaged a triple-double in the first round. He shot the ball abysmally, involving an inefficient 20% from beyond the arc, and must step up for Memphis to even have a chance at victory. Grizzlies’ shooting guard Bane, who Morant called the MVP of the first round, has been a major threat from downtown, leading the postseason in threes made with 27 in six games. He needs to continue to excel during this series to combat the Warriors’ offensive threat.
Keys to a Warriors Victory
For the Warriors, containing the rebounding excellence of the Grizzlies will be necessary. The Warriors have a defensive rebound percentage of 65.8, the third-lowest amongst the 16 postseason teams. This is a problem because Memphis ranked first in the offensive rebounding in the regular season and fourth in the postseason. If the Grizzlies are able to consistently take advantage of these second-chance opportunities, the Warriors may find themselves in trouble.
Additionally, the Warriors need to stop Morant from getting hot. He has the ability to take over games and can get a bucket at will. Gary Payton II has proven himself as one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and may just have what it takes to stop Morant in his tracks.
Despite Memphis’s lockdown defense and offensive rim pressure led by Morant. The Warriors’ offensive talent coupled with their vast playoff experience, may just prove to be too much to handle for the Grizzlies. For those reasons, Warriors in six.
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