After dismantling the Portland Trail Blazers in 5 games in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies are tied 1-1 with NBA’s best team in the Western Conference Semifinals. Here’s why Memphis will pull the upset.
Style Of Play
The Grizzlies are a rugged team that can slow the pace of the game and frustrate a high scoring Warriors team that relies heavily on perimeter shooting. The Grizzlies were second in the NBA this year in team defense, allowing only 94.3 pts per game to opposing offenses.
The Grizzlies core of Mike Conley Jr., Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol have been together since 2010 and have consistently made noise in the playoffs in a tough Western Conference, reaching the conference finals in 2013. The Warriors may have won 67 games this season but this specific group is not nearly as battle tested in the playoffs as the Grizzlies.
Their Big Men
The Warriors simply have no answer for Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in this series. The Grizzlies have trouble scoring at times but Z-Bo and Gasol will cause havoc on the glass and give the Grizz extra possessions on offense to go along with their ability to pass out of the low post.
Efficiency Of Mike Conley Jr.
Steph Curry may be the MVP but Mike Conley Jr., is the catalyst for this Memphis Grizzlies team. After missing game one Conley Jr returned in epic fashion scoring 9 points in the first 7 minutes of the game. Conley Jr. finished with 22 points on 8-12 shooting in only 27 minutes. Look for Conley Jr. to continue this type of efficiency and make Curry work on both ends of the court as the series shifts to Memphis.
“First Team All Defense!”
Tony Allen is arguably the best overall defensive player in the NBA and has been for most of his career. Allen was tenacious in a spectacular game 2 defensive performance, barking “First team all defense” at the Warriors while shutting down Klay Thompson and helping the Grizz hand the Warriors only their third loss at home all season.
The Grizzlies match up great with the Warriors. Charles Barkley has long been an advocate of jump shooting teams not being able to win a championship. I can’t say I disagree with Chuck on this one. Grizzlies in 6.
GRIZZLIES WIN SERIES +400