Well, it’s here. The final game of the regular season for the Golden State Warriors and, just as the schedule makers hope when they draw it up, the most important game of the regular season.
Let’s do it.
Who: Golden State Warriors (38-33) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (38-33)
When: 12:30 p.m. PT
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: ESPN (available on fuboTV)
Projected starting lineups:
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kent Bazemore, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
Grizzlies: Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valančiūnas
Warriors: Beat the Pelicans 125-122 — 5-0 in their last 5 games
Pelicans: Beat the Kings 107-106 — 5-0 in their last 5 games
Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):
Warriors: 111.0 offense (22nd), 110.7 defense (5th), +0.2 net (15th)
Grizzlies: 112.4 offense (16th), 111.6 defense (8th), +0.8 net (14th)
The story is merely the standings. If the Warriors win this game, they finish eighth in the West and need to win just one of two games in order to advance to the playoffs. If the Warriors lose, they finish ninth and need to win two consecutive games to make the playoffs.
That’s it. That’s the story.
If the Warriors do win, keep your eye on two evening games: the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the New Orleans Pelicans, and the Portland Trail Blazers vs. the Denver Nuggets. If the Blazers lose and the Lakers win, then the Warriors will face Portland in the first play-in game. Any other scenario and the Dubs would face Los Angeles.
Players to watch
Warrior to watch: Draymond Green.
Green has been playing his best basketball of the season lately, and it’s no coincidence that the Warriors have been doing the same. He has a chance to win this game all by himself. If his defense is as disruptive as it’s looked lately, he can help stifle Memphis’ crew. And if he can get out and push the ball in small lineups, the Dubs can punish the Grizzlies for playing big.
Grizzly to watch: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Memphis’ young big man missed most of the season with injury, and only returned on April 21. He’s played just 10 games and has been hot and cold during that time.
Matchup to watch: Steph Curry vs. Ja Morant.
Curry and Morant may not spend too much time defending each other, but it’s still a battle of electric point guards who are the stars of their teams, and the faces of their respective franchises. Both Curry and Morant will feel like they need to be the star of the game for their team to win — and they’re probably right.
Keys to victory
- Be disciplined. Limit fouls and turnovers.
- Get out and run and take advantage of Memphis’ large, slower lineup.
- Keep the bench magic going and survive the minutes when Curry sits.
- Wardell Stephen Curry II.
This is a big one Dubs. The biggest one of the year.