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Without Mike Conley, Grizzlies Cannot Beat Warriors In NBA Playoffs
The Western Conference top-seeded Golden State Warriors would have been solid series favorites over the No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies regardless, but now the Grizz might be lucky to win a game considering they could be without starting point guard Mike Conley for the entire series due to facial fracture suffered in Game 3 of Memphis' first-round win over Portland. Grizzlies-Warriors starts Sunday in Oakland and the Warriors are 9.5-point favorites at BetOnline for that game and -800 series favorites.
Conley had surgery Monday. Although he does not have a definitive return date, he has not ruled out playing in the upcoming series against the Warriors. Doctors have told Conley that his injuries won’t heal for 4-6 weeks. He would be in pain and required to wear a mask in a return before that recovery time. Conley, who has titanium plates and screws in his face, has to get to a point where he is at ease with optics and depth perception as well as normal basketball activity. Nick Calathes will continue to start while Conley is out while Beno Udrih also will see extended minutes.
"We're hopeful that it'll be sooner than later," Conley said. "It has a lot to do with swelling. [The injuries] were pretty serious to my knowledge. I'm happy to get out of it successfully. My eye was swollen shut two days ago."
The Warriors are healthy as they haven't played since eliminating New Orleans in a sweep on April 25. The Western Conference semifinals marks the first time Golden State and Memphis have ever met in the postseason.
The Warriors earned the season series victory over Memphis (2-1) in the 2014-15 regular season for the first time since 2007-08 (4-0). In the season’s first meeting on Dec. 16, the Warriors were without Andrew Bogut, who was sidelined with right knee issues. Draymond Green blocked a career-high five shots in the contest.
Stephen Curry scored 38 points in the season’s second meeting on March 28, his fourth-highest scoring output in 2014-15. In the regular season’s final meeting on April 13, Klay Thompson scored 42 points, the most scored by a Warrior against the Grizzlies in franchise history. Thompson scored 37 points in a half (first) and 26 in a quarter (second), both regular season records for an opponent vs. Memphis.
Bogut The Difference?
The Warriors had lost 11 straight to the Grizzlies, including nine in a row at Memphis, when on Dec. 7, 2013 former coach Mark Jackson made a very reasonable move that changed everything. He put 7-foot center Andrew Bogut on 6-9 Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph. The Warriors beat the Grizzlies, in Memphis, by 26.
Bogut's presence is another big reason why the Warriors should win this Western Conference semifinal. His muzzling of Randolph began a stretch in which the Warriors beat Memphis four of five times, with an average win margin of 15 points. The lone loss, last Dec. 16, was with Bogut on the sideline with a tender knee.
Plus the Grizzlies can't score much. Only Utah and Minnesota among teams in the West scored fewer points in the regular season than Memphis' 98.3 per game. Only the Timberwolves, among all teams, shot and made fewer 3-pointers.
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