Preview: Injured Grizzlies Look to Golden State

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The Grizzlies finish up a 3-game West Coast trip tonight against the number 1 Western Conference seed Golden State Warriors. After losing a gritty game against the Los Angeles Clippers without Tony Allen, Mike Conley and mostly without Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies are looking to an uphill battle likely without a few key players. Allen, Conley, and Gasol remain questionable for tonight’s game, as does Jeff Green with a lower back injury.

The Warriors are now 65-15, and have lost only 2 games all season at home. With the Conference Title nailed down, it seems the Warriors would begin resting their starters in preparation for a playoff run against either the Pelicans or the Thunder. But, in Saturday’s game against the Timberwolves, Barnes, Curry & Thompson all played normal minutes. Curry averages 32.9 minutes per game this season and played 35 minutes in the 110-101 win against Minnesota on Saturday. The Warriors came back from being down 13 for the win on Saturday.

The Grizzlies that are healthy will have to push hard to overcome the full Warriors if Coach Kerr chooses not to sit any of his starters. The Grizzlies and Warriors are tied 1-1 for this season, both of which were on our home court. The Warriors had two losses last week to Western Conference playoff teams: the Spurs and the Pelicans.

The Grizzlies have only two games left in the regular season, and while they have clenched a playoff seat, it is still up in the air whether the Grizz can clench the Southwest Division Title or may not even have home court advantage. Here’s a breakdown:

If the Grizzlies go 2-0, they will retain the #2 seed and win the SW division banner.
If the Grizzlies go 1-1, they will likely be in the #5, but perhaps the #6 depending on the Rockets remaining schedule.
If the Grizzlies go 0-2, they will be in the #6 unless Houston loses its two remaining games.

While I would love the SW division banner and a first round against the Dallas Mavericks, the #5 seed is looking good right now. Because of the better record, the Grizzlies would still have home court advantage over the Portland Trailblazers, who have been struggling lately. The Grizzlies may have a better chance of a strong showing in the first round against the Trailblazers than against the Mavericks.

No matter what happens tonight, the Grizzlies need some healing. The potential for Gasol, Conley, Allen, or Green to be injured moving into the playoffs could alter the course of this team’s run into the post-season.

Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
Oakland, California
9:30 PM on SportSouth/NBA TV

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