No. 1 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (67-15, 4-0) vs. No. 5 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (55-27, 4-1)
Season Series: Warriors, 2-1. The teams split two games in Memphis, then Golden State won its lone home game of the season series by a deceptive four-point margin – since the Warriors led by 27 after three and then a bunch of reserves gave just about every bit of the lead away.
Article continues below ...
Story Line: The moments of truth for Golden State have now arrived. No Warriors team has won two playoff series in the same year since the title season of 1975, and they’ll be facing a Memphis team with nothing to lose.
Key Matchup 1: Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley. First of all, that’s assuming this matchup actually happens. Conley’s status is still unclear because of the facial surgery he needed in the first round, and even if he plays – the smart bet is that he will – it’s anyone’s guess how effective he will be. Curry, meanwhile, is showing no signs that he’s letting the playoff moments become too big for him. And if he gets the MVP award, as many expect, during this series his game could just keep elevating.
Key Matchup 2: Draymond Green vs. Zach Randolph. Green has become one of the league’s elite defenders, and his speed and footwork will keep Randolph from getting the spots that he wants. Green will probably be called upon to help on Marc Gasol as well, and his ability to close passing lanes will be huge for the Warriors
X-Factor: Klay Thompson. He averaged 25 points in the first-round sweep of New Orleans, and the Grizzlies will have to worry so much about Curry that Thompson figures to continue thriving in this matchup.
Prediction: The Warriors are the better team, the healthier team and the team with home court. Warriors in 5.