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Grizzlies, NBA conspiring to make Warriors try

Memphis decimated New Orleans and the NBA rescinded a Luka Doncic technical foul, all to make sure the Warriors’ final games are meaningful

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies
Dillon Brooks is taking his ultimate revenge on Andre Iguodala by giving the Spurs something to play for tonight.
Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

In what is clearly a conspiracy to keep the Golden State Warriors from resting their starters down the stretch, the Memphis Grizzlies decimated the New Orleans Pelicans tonight, just hours after the NBA rescinded a technical foul on Luka Doncic that would have triggered an automatic suspension. The Pelicans’ loss keeps the door open for the tenth-seed Spurs to catch the ninth-seeded Pels, letting them host the first play-in game, while the Luka news means the Mavericks’ star can play in the season finale against San Antonio on Sunday.

The Pelicans lead the Spurs by two games, and could have ensured they played the Spurs at home with a win tonight. Ja Morant and the Grizzlies were having none of it, however, winning the first quarter handily and jumping out to a 17-point lead just 15 minutes into the game. If that wasn’t enough, they put up a near-NBA record 55 points in the 3rd quarter. It’s Ja’s first game in three weeks, but it looked like he’d been out about three minutes.

The blowout ensured that the Spurs will have something to play for tonight against the Splash Brother-free Warriors at home, because if they can beat the Warriors and Mavs this weekend, and the Warriors beat the Pelicans tomorrow, they get ninth place and a home game.

Speaking of that Mavs game, Dallas will have Luka Doncic available after the NBA took away his 16th technical foul of the season and the mandatory one-game suspension that accompanied it. Here’s the play in question.

Doncic already had one technical foul rescinded this year, and while this T was a little weak, as the announcers explained, he did already get a mulligan this season. Look, it’s not like he lightly grazed a butt-hurt star player who was stepping over his head, the worst infraction you can commit on a basketball court.

With Luka in the lineup, the Mavericks’ odds of winning on Sunday skyrocketed, meaning the Warriors would have to win both their remaining games to hold onto the three seed, since Dallas has the head-to-head tiebreaker. The one upside is that if the Warriors beat the Spurs, the Pelicans would clinch, and thus would have no motivation against the Dubs. Basically, it’s unlikely Sunday’s game would matter for both teams.

The other issue is, considering that Utah is likely to get the five seed, and the three seed likely gets the Grizzlies in round two, do the Warriors actually want the three seed? Maybe they’d be happier to face the disintegrating Jazz, who blew another giant fourth-quarter lead this week, and then take their chances with a Suns team they’re 2-2 against this year, and to whom they barely lost even without Steph Curry.

The forces of the NBA are conspiring to make the Warriors have to actually try this weekend. It’s up to them to decide if that’s in their best interest.