There’s one more postseason spot available, with the #8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs up for grabs. Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies fly out to San Francisco to take on Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors for the final game of the play-in tournament where the winner snags the #8 seed and the loser misses the NBA playoffs.

Ja Morant Steph Curry NBA play-in tournament playoffs Golden State Warriors Memphis Grizzlies #8 seed
Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies and Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors during the final game of the regular season. (Image: Getty)

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors in the Seven-Eight Game last night thanks to a clutch 3-point dagger from a visually impaired LeBron James. The Warriors have one more chance to qualify for the postseason, but it’s a do-or-die, single-elimination game to wrap up the play-in tournament.

Play-in Tournament: Western Conference #8 Seed
Memphis Grizzlies (38-34) at Golden State Warriors (39-33)
  • Tip-off: Friday, 6:00 pm PT
  • Location: Chase Arena, San Francisco, CA
  • Point Spread: GS -3.5
  • Total: 222 o/u
  • Moneyline: MEM +145 / GS -155

The Memphis Grizzlies won the Nine-Ten Game against the San Antonio Spurs to put themselves in a position to earn the #8 seed in the West. The Grizzlies were in this same exact spot just last year, but they lost in the 2020 play-in game to the Portland Trail Blazers. Will they avoid the dreaded bubble this year, or miss the playoffs by one game in back-to-back seasons?

Betting the Grizzlies/Warriors

The Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies played each other three times this season with the Warriors winning two games. They also played in the final game of the regular season, which the Warriors won to finish their season with a six-game winning streak.

The Grizzlies are the third-best betting team to cover the spread this season with a 42-31 ATS record. Golden State lost last night, but at least they beat the spread. The Warriors improved to 38-35 ATS this season. If you’re an NBA totals bettor, you’re aware that the Grizzlies are only 36-37 in hitting the over. If you like to bet the under, the Warriors are the second-best team in the NBA with a 43-30 under record.

The Warriors are +10000 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship, while the Grizzlies are +25000 odds over at DraftKings.

Both teams are huge underdogs to win the Western Conference. The Grizzlies are the last team on the futures board at +15000 odds to win the West, while the Warriors are +6000 odds to win the conference and advance to the NBA Finals.

Golden State: Bounce back, eying #8 seed

The Warriors blew a 13-point halftime lead over the slow-starting Lakers in the Seven-Eight Game. Curry scored 37 points, but he was outplayed by LeBron James, who notched a triple-double and guided his team to victory, including the big trey to seal the win.

“This is a bitter pill to swallow,” said Golden State head coach Steve Kerr. “This was our game and we couldn’t get it done.”

The Warriors are a one-dimensional team without Klay Thompson in the lineup. Curry was a one-man wrecking crew once again, but aside from Andrew Wiggins’ 21 points, the Warriors lacked a tertiary scoring threat. Kent Bazemore got off to a hot start, but finished the game with only 10 points. Draymond Green and Kevin Looney combined for eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.

The Warriors also didn’t get to the free-throw line against the Lakers, who drew enough whistles to garner 25 free throws. The Warriors attempted just 15 free throws, and eight were from Curry. The rest of the team combined for just seven free-throw attempts.

Turnovers killed the Warriors, especially in the second half. They coughed up the rock 20 times, including eight times in the third quarter, which coincided with a Lakers run to trim the lead.

“We got away from ourselves,” added Kerr. “Our turnovers weren’t forced. We made careless decisions with the ball.”

Grind City: Ja and Jonas show

The Grizzlies jumped out to a hot start against the Spurs in the Nine-Ten Game. However, the Spurs made a big run in the second quarter to get back into contention. In the second half, the Grizzlies struggled to score, but held on for a five-point victory.

“It feels good, but I mean we’re not in the playoffs yet,” said Morant said. “Just have to turn the page.”

“We still have one more in front of us,” said Jonas Valnciunas. “Really important. It’s going to be do or die. That’s how we build our confidence. That’s how we build our experience.”

Valnciunas was unstoppable on the boards, wiping the glass clean for a season-high 23 rebounds. The Grizzlies’ big man also added 23 points. Three members of the Grizzlies scored at least 20 points. Dillon Brooks led all scorers with 24 points. Morant added 20 points and dished six assists.

Memphis lacks a deep bench. They were outscored 37-14 by the Spurs thanks to 20 points from veteran Rudy Gay. The Grizzlies bench also shot a paltry 1-for-7 from 3-point range.

If the Grizzlies want to beat the Warriors in the play-in tournament finale, they’ll need another big night from Brooks (17.2 ppg this season) and one of their other starters. Jaren Jackson, Jr scored 10 points in 31 minutes of action, while Kyle Anderson struggled with nine points on 3-for-10 from the floor.

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