By every indication, the NBA's new format for the play-in tournament has been a rousing success. While all three games in the Eastern Conference have pretty much been blowouts, the Western Conference has been a different story. Regardless though, we are seeing competitive basketball from 7th through 10th seeds and that is great for the game. The best example of this newfound competitiveness was the game between the Warriors and Lakers.
LA won on a crazy three-pointer from way downtown from LeBron James. What made it even more special is that he was fouled hard in the face by Draymond Green moments before he hit the go-ahead jumper. He was poked in the eye and James kept mouthing after that he couldn't see. The crazy thing was that after the game LeBron said he was 'seeing three rims' and that he aimed for the middle one. While these are no ordinary last place playoff seeds, to see this kind of excellence before the playoffs have even started is a win for the sport and fans everywhere. And the fun isn't even done yet.
What TV Channel is Grizzlies-Warriors on?
Grizzlies-Warriors will be shown on ESPN at 9:00 p.m. ET. You can live stream NBA Playoff games on fuboTV.
How to Watch Live NBA Play-In Tournament: Grizzlies-Warriors
That's because the Memphis Grizzlies handled there business against the San Antonio Spurs and are headed to San Francisco to take on the Golden State Warriors for a battle for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Just backtracking for a moment, with the Spurs loss they were eliminated from playoff contention for the second year in a row.
San Antonio has never missed the playoffs in two consecutive years in the history of the franchise. They joined the league in 1976. They had 22 consecutive playoff appearances and were only one year away from breaking the record until they were eliminated from the Bubble last year. Coach Gregg Popovich had only missed the playoffs once in his first year coaching the team. It still feels weird that the Spurs are no in the playoffs. But that opens the way for fresh blood.
Speaking of which, back to the matter at hand. The Grizzlies look like future contenders in the West. Ja Morant and company held off the Spurs 100-96 in a close game. But the Grizzlies got more help outside of their star point guard. Dillon Brooks came up clutch late scoring eight of his 24 points in the final quarter and Jonas Valančiūnas secured a double-double to help secure victory. If they are to pull off this upset against the Warriors, they are going to need a similar complete team effort.
Steph Curry is going to cook and he's going to eat. Matter of fact he's going to be very full. So the key to this game for the Grizzlies might be limiting Andrew Wiggins. He may have never met the sky-high expectations set for him in Minnesota but he is quietly having a great year of his own. He is averaging more than 18 points per game this season and 27 ppg against Memphis. It will be really fun to see once Klay Thompson comes back next year how even more lethal Wiggins becomes and how dangerous this team will be through the air. Don't expect the Warriors to stay in the play-in tournament for much longer. The Warriors have won two of three from the Grizz this season and should be the favorite in this one.