Golden State is coming off a six-game road trip in which the team finished with a record of 1-5. Their latest game was an end-to-end beatdown as they suffered a blowout loss against the Brooklyn Nets, 143-113. Memphis, meanwhile, is one of the top teams in the league, currently tied for first place in Western Conference standings. They enter the Christmas Day matchup riding the momentum from their 125-100 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
The Warriors and Grizzlies played each other four times last regular season with Memphis winning three of them. However, the more notable matchup between these two teams occurred in the second round of last season’s NBA Playoffs. Tensions were high in this hard-fought series as both teams clashed to keep their title aspirations alive. In the end, the battle-tested Warriors overwhelmed the young and inexperienced Grizzlies as they went on to win the series 4-2 and eventually be crowned the NBA champions.
That being said, tonight’s game will be played under vastly different circumstances. According to the latest DraftKings odds, the Warriors are currently 6.5-point underdogs against the Grizzlies — largely due to the shoulder injury that has sidelined point guard Stephen Curry. The Warriors have struggled in Curry’s absence as their opponents have outscored them by 64 points in their last four games.
Adding to that, Golden State will be without All-Star forward Andrew Wiggins who was ruled out before tonight’s game. Although he seems to be trending in the right direction, Wiggins will continue to miss time due to a right adductor strain suffered earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies come into tonight’s game with plenty of motivation as they look to avenge last year’s postseason defeat. They’ve started the season off well, currently ranking fourth in the league in overall net rating according to NBA.com. Point guard Ja Morant continues to lead the team on offense averaging 26.5 points per game, while forward Jaren Jackson Jr. has been a force for them defensively since his return in mid-November.
Although the absence of Curry continues to hinder the Warriors on the court, the team’s “Championship DNA” usually comes out on full display during big games such as this one. Look for Golden State to play hard and keep this one competitive as they attempt to prove that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the West.
Warriors: Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Donte DiVincenzo, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
Grizzlies: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
Regular Season Game #34
Who: Golden State Warriors (15 - 18) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (20 - 11)
When: 5:00 p.m. PT
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: ABC (available on fuboTV)