Warriors vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Now Ja Morant and the Grizzlies have their backs against the wall as they try to secure a split before heading to the Bay Area for Games 3 and 4.
Can the Grizzlies even the series, or will the Warriors head home with a commanding 2-0 lead?
Warriors Don’t Slow Down on Offense
Draymond Green will return to the lineup after he was ejected at the end of the first half of Game 1 on a somewhat controversial call. Draymond is a menace on the defensive end and also provides incredibly valuable playmaking — his absence in the second half should not be understated.
The Warriors are relentless in their offensive attack. They use a flurry of endless movements, cuts and sharp passes. You simply cannot have mental lapses against them, otherwise they’re going to have a wide-open 3 or an easy layup.
In Game 1, there were numerous occasions where the Warriors were able to open up Steph Curry, Klay Thompson or Jordan Poole for wide-open looks on the weak side because Memphis could not cover fast enough on its rotations.
This is going to continue to be an issue because the Grizzlies showed in Game 1 that they do not want to switch Morant when he’s in pick-and-roll coverage. Realistically, Morant is not capable of covering Curry off-the-dribble.
Additionally, if they refuse to switch, it’s going to open up the roll man, which will either lead to an open shot, or a passing opportunity as the defense scrambles.
One big takeaway from the Warriors’ defensive scheme was they started Gary Payton II and deployed him almost immediately on Morant. If they play drop on Ja, it gives the Grizzlies guard plenty of opportunities to drive and get into the paint against the smaller lineups — simply because he can blow past anyone off-the-dribble.
Additionally, the Warriors are trying to force Jaren Jackson Jr. to play inside, and with Draymond back for a full game, I expect Jackson to be forced off of the 3-point line. That is especially the case considering five of his six made 3s in Game 1 came in the second half after Draymond was ejected.
This will slow down the Grizzlies’ offensive attack and clog the interior.
How Will Grizzlies Have Morant Attack?
The Memphis Grizzlies are awaiting news on Steven Adams’ availability, as he missed Game 1 due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
Meanwhile, a new addition to the injury report is Desmond Bane (back), and he’s listed as questionable. This may lend some clarity to his nine-point performance in Game 1.
If he’s unable to go, this will put an enormous amount of pressure on Dillon Brooks and JJJ as secondary options to Morant. Considering Bane’s top-notch 3-point shooting, this would condense the floor for Memphis on offense.
Stylistically, this series shapes up well for Jackson due to the Warriors’ preference to play a small-ball lineup. He will not be undersized in comparison, and as long as he can stay on the floor and keep out of foul trouble, he is absolutely lethal on both sides of the floor.
His Points and Rebounds line is set at 23.5, and given the matchup, I like him to go over that in Game 2.
Another key on offense will be for Morant to not take the open 3s that Golden State will leave for him. If the Warriors give up the switch, he needs to continue driving at Curry and Thompson. Those are two matchups he can either win or force fouls in.
This is something to keep an eye on in Game 2, and I may stay away from Curry and Thompson’s props in case Morant can force foul trouble.
The Grizzlies can win Game 2, but it seemed like everything went their way in Game 1 — including Draymond’s ejection — yet they still came up short.
Now Bane is dealing with an injury, and the Warriors will have Draymond back for the entire game.
A major issue for the Grizzlies is their lack of execution. While their offense played well, they had lapses on defense that are likely due to inexperience. The Warriors do not quit, and their perpetual motion makes it difficult to constantly run with them, which leads to mistakes and open looks.
While it may start Game 2 locked in, do we trust Memphis to keep up with Golden State for an entire game? I do not.
The Warriors’ half-court offense is significantly better than Memphis’, scoring 97.3 points per 100 plays compared to just 93.4, per Cleaning the Glass. With Draymond back, I expect the Grizzlies to be forced into the half-court, as it will be more difficult to get out into transition.
When this game slows down, the Warriors have the edge. Golden State is a more complete team, with more counters to attack and defend Memphis throughout the game.
I expect the Warriors to take care of business on the road in Game 2.
Pick: Warriors -1.5