Steph Curry and the Warriors close out the regular season against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Golden State Warriors are 5-point home favorites in their regular season finale against Memphis on Sunday
- Stephen Curry is making his first appearance against the Grizzlies this season
- Read below for a full breakdown and a pick on the game
Sunday’s game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors (3:30pm ET tip-off) isn’t a playoff game, but it should have the feel of one.
The Warriors need a win to hold the eighth seed in the Western Conference ahead of the play-in tournament, which begins on May 18. Although that currently pits Golden State against the Los Angeles Lakers — and with a win, on to a matchup against No. 2 Phoenix — that’s preferable to playing an extra game before potentially moving on to a series with No. 1 Utah.
Both teams rested starters in their last games, and both still won by narrow margins. With most key players for both sides expected back on Sunday, Golden State comes out as a 5-point favorite heading into the matchup. These teams split their previous two matchups in March, but Stephen Curry missed both with a tailbone injury.
Grizzlies vs Warriors Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Memphis Grizzlies||+5 (-110)||+180||O 229.5 (-110)|
|Golden State Warriors||-5 (-110)||-215||U 229.5 (-110)|
Odds taken as of May 15th
Lessons Learned From Earlier Games
Bettors should measure their conclusions from the last time these teams met. The games were back-to-back and players’ overall form was largely the same in both. Had the games come at different points in the season, it would have provided a more objective look at how things could shake out on Sunday.
It’s the first Steph Curry vs Ja Morant matchup ever tomorrow. Curry on Morant: “Super athletic. Super crafty. Very confident. Just seems like a gamer who loves competition. We had some fun on social media back in the day.” pic.twitter.com/e4ChLz3BSa
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 16, 2021
For example, Memphis’ Ja Morant is averaging 19.2 points per game this season, has shot 45.2% from the field, and 30% from three-point range. Against Golden State, he averaged just 14 points, shot 34.4% from the field and an abysmal 14% from distance. His two games against the Warriors came during a cold snap in which he shot just around 30% from the field in three of four games prior to Golden State.
The Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins played some of his best basketball of the season against Memphis. In Curry’s absence, he made eight of his 16 total three point attempts, doubled his output on the boards and played some of his best defense all year.
Memphis center Jonas Valanciunas was rested in the team’s win against Sacramento on Friday. He had been on the Grizzlies’ injury report with back soreness, but will be available on Sunday.
30 PTS for Brooks.
24 PTS, 13 REB for Valanciunas.
The #Grizzlies win their 4th in a row, pulling even record-wise with the Warriors for #8 in the West!
— OutOfSightSports🚀 (@OOSSports) May 14, 2021
Golden State has been effective from a statistical standpoint at minimizing opponents’ production in the paint, but much of that has to do with their high three-point rate on offense. Valanciunas was limited to his sixth-lowest field goal percentage and usage of the season against the Warriors, but dominated under the glass with 31 total rebounds.
Jordan Poole was forced to miss some of the Warriors’ win on Friday when he badly rolled his ankle against New Orleans in the midst of a 38-point performance. All indications are that he will be active on Sunday, and Golden State could definitely use him. Poole has hit double-digits in his last five games, and against the Grizzlies, he averaged more than 25 points and shot 55% from the field.
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If Memphis gets the most out of its team on Sunday, this has all the makings of a competitive matchup and an entertaining game. However, this is essentially playoff basketball for Golden State, and Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins’ most recent postseason experience came in 2017 as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks.
The line has already moved a half point in Memphis’ favor, but the Warriors figure to be the more motivated side and should be encouraged by what it saw from its reserves on Friday. With a rested Curry back in the lineup following a stretch where he’s scored 30 points or more in nine of his last 11 games, Golden State should should have a great deal of confidence as well.
The Pick: Warriors – 5 (-110)
Nick Krueger has over a decade of experience in sports media, covering a wide range of events including two Olympic Games for Yahoo Sports. Other areas of focus for Nick throughout his career have included college football recruiting, NCAA athletics and Major League Baseball Spring Training.