Golden State Warriors (44-8) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (33-22)
How to watch
Date: Friday February 10, 2017
Time: 5:00pm PST
Location: FedExForum — Memphis, TN
TV: CSN Bay Area
Radio: 95.7 THE GAME
Last updated 1:00pm on 2/9/17
Warriors: David West; Zaza Pachulia (Out)
JaVale McGee (Probable)
Grizzlies: Zach Randolph
While no team in the NBA comes close to the shooting prowess that the Golden State Warriors possess, the Memphis Grizzlies are an excellent example of how Stephen Curry’s three-point revolution has changed the game. In their most recent game against the Phoenix Suns, the Grizzlies made 14 three-pointers, bringing their total to 507 in 55 games. Their regular season total for all of last season: 504.
One reason for this jump is the increased range of Grizzlies’ big man, Marc Gasol. So far this season Gasol has shot for over 40% from deep and is averaging 3.6 three-point attempts per game. Already one of the best — if not the best — centers in the game today, Gasol is a match-up nightmare for any team and his improved range only makes him more dangerous.
The Warriors will have to do their best to keep the ball out of Gasol’s hands and force the other Grizzlies’ players to beat them.
Front court battle
A big part of Memphis’ overtime victory over Golden State earlier this season was forward Zach Randolph, who came off the bench to score 27 points and grab 11 rebounds.
Randolph sat out Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns with a sore left foot. He was still listed on the injury report as of Thursday but expects to be ready to play against the Warriors.
Despite the fact that Randolph has been on the decline, he still shows up when motivated. If he plays, expect him to have the proper motivation as the Warriors tend to bring out their opponents’ best shots.
Third time’s the charm
Pundits point to Memphis’ size advantage as one of the main reasons the Grizzlies have had success against the Warriors this year. While the size of the Grizzlies is a concern, the Warriors are always playing bigger teams. And the fact is, the Warriors had more blocks than the Grizzlies in their past two meetings (eight and five for the Warriors vs. five and zero for the Grizzlies) and were fairly even in rebounds.
As previously mentioned, the sizeable Randolph played very well in those games, but the Warriors have faced far greater performances and still gotten the W.
So then what was the cause of those losses if not size? Well, as you know, Golden State’s offense is known for two things: shooting and passing.
In their first loss against the Grizzlies, the Warriors totaled a mere 15 assists. That’s well below their average of 31.2 assists per game. They tallied 29 assists in their second loss, which sounds more respectable, but that is still below their average and they benefited from five additional minutes of overtime to get to that number. For a team that can drop 30 assists in just three quarters, this is definitely out of character.
On top of that, the Warriors shot 9-for-27 and 8-for-30 from distance in those losses. They were actually out-shot from the three point line by the Grizzlies. That’s surprising considering the fact that Golden State has three of the best three-point shooters in the game — two of whom are among the best three point-shooters ever.
The Warriors will be without key front court players Zaza Pachulia and David West, which means they’ll have to rely on ball movement and great shooting to combat Gasol and Randolph. But Golden State is sure to be motivated to get a win against this Memphis team and will be looking to squash any indication that the Grizzlies have their number.
I expect the law of averages to rear its head, giving Golden State a good shooting night against Memphis. Curry should bounce back after a quiet game on Wednesday night and I think the Grizzlies will try to feed Gasol against the Warriors’ depleted front court.
Final Score: Warriors 111 - Grizzlies 99
High Scorers: Stephen Curry (GSW) and Marc Gasol (MEM)