Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors (-9, 200.5 o/u)
The NBA-champion Golden State Warriors (3-0, 1-0 Home) haven’t missed a beat since last season’s title run, dominating in three straight to open the 2015-16 season. Tonight, Steph Curry and company will look to make it four in a row when they host a team which took them to the limit last year, the Memphis Grizzlies (2-1, 1-0 Away), at Oracle Arena (10:30 PM Eastern).
The Warriors already own two decisive wins over the New Orleans Pelicans and another against the Houston Rockets, both of whom made the playoffs in the ultra-competitive Western Conference last year. Just like last season, the offense has been virtually unstoppable thanks to unselfish play; the team is averaging a league-high 27 assists per game and pouring in 119.0 points per night.
Curry, the reigning NBA MVP, has also picked up where he left off. The point guard is putting up an other-worldly 39 PPG in the early going, and nearly set a new career-high on Saturday, dropping 53 on the Pelicans. Curry joins Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, and Jerry West as the only players in NBA history to score 118 points or more in the first three games of the year.
“You just get better as a player and try to take it to another level,” Curry told the Associated Press. “So that’s what I’m trying to do this year.”
Making the team’s early-season run all the more impressive is the fact that they are doing it without head coach Steve Kerr, who is taking some time off to deal with back problems. Assistant Luke Walton has been given charge of the team in Kerr’s absence.
Walton, a two-time NBA champ with the Lakers, will need to craft a solid game plan for tonight’s tilt. The Grizzlies dropped their season-opener to the Cavaliers, but have rebounded with impressive wins over the Nets and Pacers. Playing solid defense once again, the Grizz have looked much like the team that pushed the Warriors to six games in last year’s conference semis.
Though the team is averaging just 96.3 PPG through its first three, Memphis’ version of a “big three” (PG Mike Conley, C Marc Gasol, and PF Zach Randolph) are capable of cranking up the offense at any time.
The addition of SF Jeff Green in the middle of last season has made them even more dangerous at that end of the floor.
“When we’re making shots from the outside, I think we’re a tough team to beat,” said Conley to the AP. “The league knows that, and we’ve just got to find more consistency with it.”
That said, the Grizzlies have not fared well, betting-wise, against the Warriors of late; Memphis is just 2-6 SU in its last eight against Golden State and 2-4 ATS in its last six in the series. I fully expect Curry and the Warriors to keep rolling and, right now, with the offense playing as well as it has, laying the nine points looks like the better option.
Pick: Golden State (-9).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) “Stephen Curry” [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]. Photo has been cropped.)