NBA Betting: Can Grizzlies Provide A Challenge For The Warriors?

The NBA playoffs are about to move into the second round, and the Western Conference semifinals have one of their two series set in place. Golden State has been able to rest for a full week, but will that hurt the Warriors as they try to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in nearly 40 years?

Western Conference – Semi-Final
Golden State Warriors vs Memphis Grizzlies
Best-Of-7 Series
NBA Series Price: Grizzlies -1000

Warriors Laying A Big Number

This is a series in which Golden State should be seen as a huge favorite. First of all, the Warriors got a sweep in the first round and have been able to rest a full week heading into Game 1 on Sunday afternoon. Memphis will have three full days to prepare for this series. That’s a reasonable turnaround, with at least some time to regroup. By comparison, the winner of the San Antonio-Los Angeles Clipper series will have just one day off before the start of the second round against Houston on Monday. Memphis won’t be immediately hurt, but Golden State is loving the ability to get so much added rest. This will especially help because Golden State should be able to get good energy out of Andrew Bogut, the one man best suited to handle Marc Gasol, Memphis’ high-scoring center, enabling Draymond Green to play Zach Randolph. If Bogut is healthy and active in this series, Golden State should be able to defend Memphis in the paint, enabling its superior backcourt to win the series. The Warriors want to draw even in the frontcourt and then win the battle on the perimeter. Getting rest for Bogut aids that pursuit.

Conley Banged Up

Here’s the bigger concern in this series, one which generally favors Golden State but could feature a subtle detail favoring Memphis as the series moves along:

Mike Conley, the Grizzlies’ point guard and one of the elite perimeter defenders in the NBA, suffered a noticeable injury midway through the first-round series against Portland. Conley’s eye was swollen shut. His condition has improved, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be ready for Game 1 at this time. If he’s not ready, Memphis really doesn’t have a chance of keeping up with the Warriors, who have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in their backcourt and possess more speed than what the Grizzlies can offer without Conley in the lineup. Conley’s likely absence from Game 1, and his probable ineffectiveness if he’s able to play at all in Game 2, should give the Warriors an excellent chance of being able to start the series with a couple of wins.

Outlook & Pick

Here’s what could favor Memphis, though: Game 3 is played four days after Game 2, meaning that Conley might be able to not only play, but gain a rhythm, by the time Game 3 rolls around. If Conley starts to play really well, his injury-based rest over the past week could leave him extra fresh for Games 4 through 7. Memphis could pick up momentum later in the series and catch Golden State off balance.
In the end, though, the uncertainties surrounding Conley are too great to ignore. It seems unwise from a betting standpoint to expect Conley to play well. That’s not something you’d want to count on. The Warriors clearly look like the best team in the NBA right now. They should win this series in no more than five games, unless Conley plays surprisingly well, relative to his physical condition.

Pick: Warriors -100