The Memphis Grizzlies faced the Golden State Warriors on Sunday afternoon without their starting point guard, Mike Conley. Can Memphis now change the way the series is played in Game 2? The Warriors are a 10-point favorite on the NBA betting lines.
The Memphis Grizzlies Can Win Because…
They have been able to gather meaningful information on how to play Golden State without Mike Conley, who suffered broken bones in his face and had an eye that had been swollen shut just over a week ago. With Conley out, Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih gained more minutes on the floor, 21 for Calathes and 19 for Udrih, with shooting guard Vince Carter getting 18 minutes as part of head coach Dave Joerger’s attempt to try to get the right personnel on the court. It is one thing to strategize about how to play a team like Golden State without a starting point guard. It is another thing to actually play the game. Now that the Grizzlies have been able to see just how much work they need to do against Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, they can begin to formulate a better plan of attack and tell their reserves – those playing the minutes Conley would normally get – how to better approach both their offensive and defensive assignments.
The other thing that should give Memphis some hope in this series is that Vince Carter went just 1 for 7 from the field in Game 1. If he can go 4 for 7 in Game 2, and Calathes – who went 0 for 4 on Sunday – can provide a modest 10-point game, that would immediately make up the 15-point final deficit Memphis had to endure on Sunday. The simple act of getting two or three more players to play better could enable the Grizzlies to stay close in this game and ultimately win it.
The Golden State Warriors Can Win Because…
They are a far better team than Memphis in this series as long as Conley isn’t playing, and they're the favorites tonight on the NBA odds. This just isn’t very complicated, and it’s pretty obvious as well. When an opponent’s starting point guard is out in the playoffs, that kind of thing is supposed to matter, and it was easy to see why in Game 1. Nick Calathes scoring zero points in 21 minutes hurt the Grizzlies a lot. Udrih scored only seven points. Carter scored only two. That’s a total of nine points in 58 minutes for the three guys who essentially filled in for Conley. Moreover, Conley’s defense was missed. He would have guarded Stephen Curry, but without Conley, the Grizzlies watched Curry hit 4 of 8 three-pointers and score 22 points while handing out seven assists. The Warriors hit just over 50 percent of their shots because they were able to get into their offense so fluidly and effortlessly. Memphis just can’t compete if it lacks Conley.
The Grizzlies have to have Conley playing well to even have a shot. Since Conley still might not play in Game 2, you have to assume he’ll be a non-factor. Take Golden State with your NBA picks to win and cover in Game 2.
NBA Pick: Golden State -10 at The Greek