The goal for the Memphis Grizzlies now is to hold onto the 2nd seed in the West. In order to do so, they need to beat the Warriors & the NBA odds on Friday night.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They are on fire. The Warriors, unlike the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference, are not coasting to a number one seed in the NBA playoffs. They are continuing to push hard, and their efforts are not going in vain. Golden State has lost just two games in the entire month of March. The Warriors won five straight after a March 2 loss at Brooklyn. They then lost at Denver on March 13 and have won their next seven games after that brief stumble.
What is most noticeable and encouraging for the Warriors right now is not the play of Stephen Curry, who has been lights-out the past few weeks with tons of 20-point, 10-assist games, but the play of center Andrew Bogut. The oft-injured big man from Australia is the player who, if healthy enough to perform well, makes Golden State a truly complete team. He hasn’t been healthy enough to make a difference in each of the past two playoff seasons, but right now, he’s making the Warriors almost impossible to beat. Bogut grabbed 16 rebounds the other night in a 14-point win at Portland. He gained 12 rebounds the night before in a 31-point win over the Washington Wizards. If Bogut is in good shape, this team is in excellent shape.
One other thing to point out about the Warriors (favored by 3.5 points in tonight's NBA odds) : Their average point differential is over 10, making them the only team in the NBA with a double-digit positive differential. That differential had been very close to 10.0 points the past month. Now, it’s at 10.7. The fact that the Warriors are almost at 11 in their average point differential is another telling way that they’re trending upward – not merely winning, but winning by large margins. Keep that in mind when placing your NBA Picks today.
The Memphis Grizzlies Can Win Because…
They are going to regroup in this game, as good teams manage to do. Memphis just had a bad night at the office on Wednesday. The Cleveland Cavaliers played as well as they’ve played all season, and when a great team plays well, you just tip your cap and move on. Cleveland shot 51.2 percent against Memphis, getting all five starters to score at least 13 points. Memphis just couldn’t match that, and the Grizzlies lost by a wide margin.
Memphis got to rest its starters due to the blowout. No starter played more than 27 minutes, so this team should be fresh for this game. One other thing to mention is that Golden State’s seven-game winning streak is based on six home wins and only one road win. Memphis has one of the louder crowds in the NBA, so this could be an adjustment for Golden State after a lot of comfortable wins in its own building. The Warriors beat Portland in Portland the other night because the Blazers had LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Chris Kaman out in addition to Wesley Matthews, who was lost for the season weeks ago. Memphis has Mike Conley back in the lineup after an injury. This team had beaten Dallas by 11 in Dallas and Portland by 11 at home before losing to Cleveland. This team is playing well… it just ran into a hotter team (Cleveland).
The fact that the Grizzlies are at home and the Warriors are easing into a long road trip could create a win for Memphis. However, after watching the Grizzlies get handled easily at home by the Cavaliers, it doesn’t exactly produce much confidence. The Warriors are too much in rhythm right now to bet against.
NBA Pick: Golden State -3.5 at The Greek