The Golden State Warriors travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies. Klay Thompson has returned for the Warriors. With Klay back, will the Warriors be able to defeat the winners of nine straight games, the Memphis Grizzlies? Let’s break down the NBA odds for this game.
Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at FedExForum
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors got a huge boost on Sunday night with Klay Thompson's return. Klay Thompson had missed two seasons with injury and was an integral part of the Warriors Championship run. Thompson’s return provided an emotional boost for the Warriors as they were able to steamroll the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-82. Now the Warriors take that emotion on the road to face the Memphis Grizzlies.
Thompson made the most of his return, scoring 17 points in just 19 minutes. He was not hesitant to shoot, going 7-18 including 3-8 from behind the arc. Klay has not lost a lot of skill and ability on the defensive end either. The return of Thompson firmly catapults the Warriors into championship contention once again. How long will the Warriors ride this boost?
The Warriors will be missing a few of their key pieces, however, including the defensive stalwart Draymond Green. Draymond Green is expected to be out at least until January 13th with a calf injury. Gary Payton and Otto Porter Jr. will be game-time decisions. With Green out, the Warriors lose their emotional leader. Klay and Steph can be laid-back guys, having fun and splashing 3 point shots. Draymond brings the “dog” to the team, and keeps them intense and focused.
The Memphis Grizzlies are 28-14 and have won nine in a row. The Grizzlies are third in points per game at 112.1. They are first in rebounds per game at 48.3 and 1st and steals per game at 10.1. They are also first in blocked shots at 6.21 per game. Memphis proves that basketball is a simple game… you score and you defend, then you win.
The Grizzlies are led by Ja Morant, who is making a serious push for All-Star consideration. Morant averages 25 points and 7 assists per game. He is able to beat almost every defender off the dribble and is the key to setting up the Grizzlies offense. Once Morant gets to the paint, he will easily make the layup, if opposing teams do not collapse upon him. When opposing teams do collapse, he has a keen eye for the passing lanes and will find an open teammate for a wide-open 3.
The development of Jaren Jackson Jr. has been key to the Grizzlies ascension up the standings. Jackson has finally become the versatile defender that the Grizzlies had hoped he would be when he was drafted number 4 overall in 2018. Jackson's ability to block shots, yet be an excellent perimeter switch defender has solidified the Grizzlies' defense. On the other end of the floor, Jackson Jr. has been dangerous in scoring in the post position. He has also improved his jump shot making him a versatile all-around player.
Ja Morant vs. Steph Curry. Ja Morant is the engine to the Grizzlies offense. Even though they will often not guard each other, these two All-Stars will engage in the duel that should determine their team's fate. The point guards will need to score, while also being mindful to get their teammates involved. Both players like to push the pace and are deadly in transition. This means that defense will be the key to getting both men involved in running the break. Both players are known as weaker defenders but could key big runs through steals.
If Ja Morant is able to have a big night, the Grizzlies can extend their winning streak to 10 with their most impressive win yet.
If Steph Curry has another one of his amazing performances, the Warriors could get the road win.
Without Draymond Green in the lineup, this Warriors defense significantly suffers. Going against a team firing on all cylinders like the Grizzlies will be too much for the Warriors to overcome. Klay Thompson's return is important for the Warriors. Thompson is a very impressive defensive player, but they will miss Draymond Green’s leadership and versatility.
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