Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors (-7.5, 195 o/u)
The injury bug has hit the Memphis Grizzlies (54-26, 24-16 away) at the wrong time. With the NBA playoffs right around the corner, key players Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Jeff Green, and Tony Allen are all suffering from various ailments. Tonight, the laboring squad will get no respite, as they travel to the Bay Area to host the NBA’s top team, the Golden State Warriors (65-15, 37-2 home) at Oracle Arena.
The shorthanded Grizzlies have gone just 4-5 in their last nine including a 94-86 setback to the Clippers this past weekend. Conley and Allen didn’t play and Gasol was limited to just three shots in nine minutes of action.
Despite the loss, Grizzlies head coach David Joerger liked what he saw defensively from his team, which kept the Clippers to less than 40-percent shooting.
“I’m not worried, I’m so proud of our guys,” Joerger said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this team. We played our tails off.”
After leading the stacked Southwest Division for much of the year, Memphis’ recent struggles – coupled with strong play from the Spurs and Rockets – has seen the team get bumped to third in the division.
Joerger’s squad can move back into a tie for the Southwest lead tonight with a win over the Warriors. But that, of course, is easier said than done.
Golden State has already locked up the league’s best record and has lost just two games at Oracle Arena all season.
The only fear for coach Steve Kerr at the moment is complacency. That was evident during the team’s 110-101 win over Minnesota this past weekend in which the Warriors watched a 17-point lead disappear against a beleaguered Timberwolves team.
Kerr said his team was going “through the motions a little bit.”
He added, “Maybe this is just two weeks of already knowing our position, I don’t know. We just weren’t sharp. I just think they’re ready for the playoffs. They want it, and I’m very confident that when that happens, when the playoffs come, our edge will be back and we’ll be sharper.”
Currently the Warriors have a 16-game winning streak at home. With nothing to play for, look for starters to get rest and the defense to suffer because of it, which is why the over (195) is the play.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)