Warriors vs. Grizzlies Game 1 Preview: Bet Golden State Outright in Series Opener?

Action Network contributor Jacob McKenna preview Game 1 of the Warriors vs. Grizzlies series, including his betting pick.

Warriors vs. Grizzlies Odds

Warriors Odds -1.5
Grizzlies Odds +1.5
Over/Under 219.5
Time 3:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Golden State Warriors will make a trip to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies in what is the start of Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs on Sunday afternoon.

The Grizz appeared to struggle against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Round 1, often finding themselves down double digits and having to fight back in the late stages of the game. However, Memphis ultimately prevailed, winning the series 4-2 and showing that its young core is capable of making a postseason push.

Meanwhile, Golden State was able to take care of the Denver Nuggets rather easily in Round 1, winning the series in five games and displaying its dominance on both ends of the court.

The Warriors have not played since Wednesday and have had plenty of time to rest, while the Grizzlies will have a short turnaround from their victory on Saturday night. Can Golden State make the rest advantage work in their favor, or will being on their home court again propel the Grizzlies to an early 1-0 series lead?

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The Warriors Are Back … and Might Be Better

The Warriors’ performance Round 1 was truly a tremendous display of dominance, especially when it comes to their play on the offensive end of the floor.

In their first series of the postseason, the Warriors posted an Offensive Rating of 121.9 according to NBA Advanced Stats. That number ranks No. 1 in the NBA playoffs up to this point, and is more than two points higher than Philadelphia and Boston in second and third.

Hot shooting from behind the arc has been the highlight for the Warriors over the past several seasons, and that aspect of their game is once again on display and has led them to being the best offense. The Dubs currently lead all playoffs teams with a 42.2% 3-point percentage and overall they have shot a tremendous 51.5% from the floor.

Stephen Curry is obviously a huge piece of their early playoff success on offense, but perhaps more importantly has been the play of Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson.

At just 22 years old, Poole, who has averaged 21 points per game, has shot 54.8% from the floor, and 48.4% from behind the arc. The shooting percentages lead the Warriors this postseason, and if he continues to stay on fire alongside the Splash Brothers, the Grizzlies are going to have their hands full.

Will the Grizzlies Continue to Dig Deep Deficits?

Memphis ran into some trouble in the first round, putting into question whether or not they would be able to escape to the second round.

After losing Game 1 on their home court by 13 to Minnesota, Memphis came back and won Game 2 to even the series. They then went on to win Game 3, Game 5, and Game 6, but that was not without having to overcome deficits on 21 , 15, and 10 points, respectively.

Memphis’ saving grace has been their play in the fourth quarter, a quarter where their stars have risen to the occasion and got this team back in a winning position.

In the postseason, the Grizzlies rank No. 1 in the NBA in fourth quarter scoring, averaging 33 points per game in that 12-minute span. Ja Morant leads the team with 7.2 points in the fourth quarter, followed by Brandon Clarke, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson all averaging above five.

However, I think much of their fourth quarter success was due to the offense, or lack thereof, of Minnesota as opposed to their own play. During Round 1, the Timberwolves averaged just 22.7 points per game in the fourth quarter while shooting 35% from the floor, hitting a wall that allowed the Grizzlies to get right back into many games that could have easily been losses.

That likely won’t be the case against the Warriors, and Memphis will need to clean things up in the early stages in order to stay competitive.

Warriors-Grizzlies Pick

I was skeptical of the Grizzlies in Round 1, and after seeing their performance in many of their playoff games in that round I am once again hesitant to back them in this series despite being the higher seed.

The Grizzlies simply can not rely on tremendous fourth quarter scoring in order to win games, especially against this Warriors team. Golden State ranks second in the NBA this postseason in fourth quarter scoring, scoring 30.6 points per game in the fourth quarter, which ranks just behind Memphis.

Minnesota blew a double digit lead in five of six games in Round 1, which somehow resulted in a 4-2 series loss. That to me involves a lot of luck on the Grizzlies’ end of things, and I don’t think they will be able to be anywhere near as lucky in this series. I like the Warriors to win this one outright on the road.

Pick: Warriors ML (-120)