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One side of the NBA’s Western Conference Semifinals is now set. The Memphis Grizzlies will be facing the Golden State Warriors. All Grit and Grind versus the Splash Brothers.
While Golden State swept their 1st Round opponent, New Orleans, Memphis took another game to oust Portland.
The season series went to Golden State 2 games to 1. Memphis won the opening game of the season back in December, 105-98. Golden State took the final 2 games 107-84, and 111-107. In the second game, Steph Curry put up 38 points, and the third game Klay Thompson went for 42.
Outside of the obvious loss of Mike Conley, at least for Game 1 and most likely more, Memphis must find a way to contain Curry and Thompson. This is where Tony Allen and Jeff Green come in to play.
I’m no NBA head coach, but my first choice would be to put Tony Allen on Steph Curry, and Jeff Green on Klay Thompson. Especially with Mike Conley out of action. That leaves Zach Randolph on Draymond Green and Marc Gasol on Andrew Bogut.
Even with that, high ball screens are what the Warriors feed off of. The Grizzlies must be cognizant of that. Help defense, along with transition defense, will be key if the Grizzlies have any chance of hanging with the Warriors more than 4 games.
During the regular season, Golden State averaged a fiery 110 points per game. The Grizzlies, 98. That speaks more to the different styles the teams play, but is a cause for concern if you are the Grizzlies and trying to figure out how to game plan for the series.
Both teams had very good records at home during the season, Golden State 39-2, Memphis 31-10. Away records are also very respectable for both teams. Golden State 28-13, Memphis 24-17.
Throw all those stats out the window, though. This series will come down to one thing, Memphis’ Grit and Grind. How well can they contain the Splash Brothers? Can Memphis’ offense hit on more than 1 3 pointer per game? When, and if, will Mike Conley come back to the rotation?
Fans in Memphis, and fans of the Grizzlies in general, would love to see another deep post season run. A repeat of 2013, when the team made the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the Spurs, would be ideal. But, how sweet would it be if a small market team from Memphis could make the NBA Finals?
This 2nd Round matchup against the best team in the NBA this season could go a long way to answering that question. What does Dave Joerger have up his sleeve? What does the benefit of playing the same team every game give the Grizz? Does the Grindhouse give the Grizz any kind of advantage, if even for 3 games at most? Starting Sunday, these questions will be answered.