The Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors will face off in the second round of the 2022 NBA playoffs. Golden State took care of the Denver Nuggets in five games in round one. Memphis edged out the Minnesota Timberwolves in six. This series will feature the most intriguing point guard matchup of the postseason thus far. All eyes will be on Stephen Curry and Ja Morant. One of the game’s greatest ever meets one of the top rising stars in the sport in what should be a fascinating playoff battle. Let’s break it all down.
|Warriors in 7 (+500)||Grizzlies in 7 (+450)|
|Warriors in 6 (+250)||Grizzlies in 6 (+1000)|
|Warriors in 5 (+450)||Grizzlies in 5 (+1100)|
|Warriors in 4 (+550)||Grizzlies in 4 (+3500)|
Golden State Warriors
Golden State’s offense looked unstoppable in the first round against the Nuggets. The Warriors currently lead the league in offensive efficiency this postseason (points scored per 100 possessions, 121.9). Stephen Curry averaged 28 points in the first round in just 30 minutes per game. Curry leads the NBA in OBPM (offensive box plus-minus, 8.3) in these playoffs. The Warriors also got 20-plus point-per-game performances from Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole in the Denver series. Andrew Wiggins is a scoring threat as well – he gave you over 17 points per game in the regular season and shot nearly 40 percent from three.
The Warriors are as strong on the defensive end as they are on the offensive end. Golden State was tied for the league lead with Boston in defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions 107.0) for the regular season. Draymond Green is still one of the league’s best defenders. He is second to Giannis Atnetokounmpo this postseason in DBPM (defensive box plus-minus, 3.8). The Warriors also have seven players who ranked in the league’s top 50 this season in defensive win shares.
The Grizzlies finished off Minnesota in six games, but it was anything but an easy series for Memphis. If it were not for improbable comebacks in games three and five, Memphis would probably be looking into trips to Cancun right now. Ja Morant struggled from a shooting standpoint in round one, shooting just 38.1% and averaging 21.5 points. However, Morant did nearly average a triple-double for the series – posting 10.5 assists and 8.7 boards per game. Desmond Bane was Memphis’s savior in the first round, putting up 23.5 points per game on nearly 50 percent shooting. The Grizz will need a similar performance from Bane in this series if they hope to compete with the Warriors. The Grizzlies rank just 10th out of the 16 teams in these playoffs in offensive efficiency (111.9). They are going to have to pick it up, especially Morant, if they want to go to the western conference finals.
If Memphis can rediscover its top 5 regular season offense, its defense is strong enough to keep the Grizz in this series. The Grizzlies ranked fourth in defensive efficiency in the regular season (109) and rank third this postseason (106.5). Jaren Jackson Jr. ranked in the league’s top eight in defensive win shares this season (3.7). The Grizzlies have three of the league’s top 15 players in defensive win shares this postseason and five of the league’s top 55 in the regular season. The Warriors’ offense is a different animal, but Memphis’ defense is good enough to at least keep the Grizz in games if their offense can show up.
Prediction and Best Bets
The Grizzlies have the potential to make this an interesting series, but I think they are outmatched here. Golden State is just too good on both sides of the ball, and while Ja Morant is a rising superstar, we all know who the best player on the court is in this matchup. If Memphis plays as it did against Minnesota, this will not even be close. Golden State is well-rested and should have the edge on both sides of the floor as it is.
Memphis has played Golden State really well in big spots. Let’s not forget that Memphis eliminated the favored Warriors in San Francisco for the last playoff seed last season. I think they get a couple of games, but I think it is far-fetched to expect anything more than that for the Grizzlies. I see Curry and the Warriors finishing this up in six games on their home floor. Unless Morant plays light years better than he did in round one, this won’t go seven games.
Best Bets: Warriors in 6 (+250 at DraftKings), Warriors -1.5 games (-140 at DraftKings)
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