Injuries are no fun at any time. Just ask the Golden State Warriors who missed the last two postseasons with debilitating injuries to their stars and are currently missing James Wiseman, Andre Iguodala, and Gary Payton II.
But their second round opponent Memphis Grizzlies are dealing with potential injury woes of their own after their leader and star Ja Morant left their Game 3 loss with a knee injury.
Interesting. It’s been widely analyzed how the Grizz were still a solid team even when Morant missed games this year. Per Stat Muse, Memphis went a ridiculous 20-5 without Morant in the lineup. Chris Herring of SI had some observations on why that is earlier this season, with a big emphasis on an improved defense:
The Grizzlies surrender 111.2 points per 100 possessions with Morant on the court—about a league-average rate, which would rank 16th—but just 104.1 points per 100 when Morant is off the floor; a rate that would lead the NBA. The team is far more active, prompting more deflections and more opponent turnovers when backup Tyus Jones is on the floor.
Beyond that, when other guards are at the point of attack, and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Jaren Jackson Jr. can take the liberty of roaming a bit more than usual as a free safety, it takes opposing offenses out of rhythm. Even when he’s anchored to the rim, it’s a good thing for the Grizz: opponents shoot 14.3 percentage points beneath their averages from six feet in and closer when Jackson is there to contest, the NBA’s second-best mark among players who’ve appeared in 50 games and defended at least four shots there per night.
After getting gashed by Golden State for a preposterous 142 points in Game 3, I’m sure the Grizzlies will be desperately looking for better defense. Per Stat Muse, that score of 142 is the highest the Dubs have tallied in a playoff game during the Splash Bros era. That’s gotta be satisfying for Dub Nation going against a Grizzlies team that had the league’s sixth best defensive rating during the regular season.
Of course, that Game 3 was notable in part because Memphis’ guard Dillon Brooks was suspended from that contest for the Flagrant 2 he committed in Game 2 against Gary Payton II (that’s a lotta 2’s). If the Grizz want to get their second win of the series, they’ll have to hope Brooks has a positive impact for their ballclub.
I’m sure Dub Nation will be booing the bejeezus outta that guy everytime he touches the ball in Chase Center Monday night.
I never wanted the Warriors to win a series more until now. Haven't felt this way since the Rockets in '18 and '19— ️ ️ (@KuyaPB) May 8, 2022
Will the Dubs make their home fans proud and take a 3-1 lead? Golden State is -525 on the moneyline, per Draft Kings.
May 9th, 2022 | 7:00 PT
Watch: TNT | Listen: 95.7 The Game, ESPN Radio
Who ya got in Game 4, Warriors or Grizzlies?
The Grizzlies are too resilient to lose two in a row
The Warriors are going to continue unleashing hell on Memphis