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Game 2 Preview: Warriors vs. Grizzlies

Basketball Insiders previews Game 2 of the Warriors-Grizzlies series.

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#1 – Golden State Warriors

Game 1 went mostly as expected for the Warriors, who built a solid lead in the first quarter and mostly maintained it throughout the game. As expected, their shooters on the perimeter were freed up by the Grizzlies’ stay-at-home defensive style, one unable to fully contain guys like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors shot over 46 percent from deep on 28 attempts, a figure that will in all probability net them a second consecutive sweep if they are able to maintain it or close.

Golden State had control of the game from the start, but it’s possible the final score slightly overstated the imbalance between the teams. The Warriors shot over 52 percent on contested shots for the game, not likely a sustainable figure. But they still generated nine more uncontested shots than Memphis, and look to have a number of sets the Grizzlies just aren’t capable of guarding moving forward.

Both Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green had a few foul issues, with the former fouling out in 24 minutes, a subplot to keep an eye on going forward. If Green can stay on the floor for longer minutes than Sunday’s game (he played just over 27) and continue his torrid shooting pace from Game 1, things will begin to feel a bit unfair. The Warriors are rolling over minor speedbumps right now, and it feels like something more major will need to occur to see them challenged in this series.

#5 – Memphis Grizzlies

The Griz played a hard and intelligent game for the most part, but were just overwhelmed by Golden State’s talent in this one. Even with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph doing solid work down low and drawing whistles against both starting Warriors big men, they weren’t able to contain pure shot-making and an offense that looked too fast for them at times.

Tony Allen did his best defensively on a variety of charges throughout the game, but the absence of Mike Conley and the resulting weak spots in Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes were too much to overcome against Golden State’s wing depth. Even Allen found himself falling behind the Warriors’ breakneck pace at times. It’s tough to truthfully imagine Memphis doing a whole lot better defensively without Conley in the fold.

Even if Conley makes his way back, for Memphis to win four of the remaining six games will be an uphill climb. Green and the Warriors’ team scheme will adjust to the emphasis the Grizzlies are placing in attacking him down low, and Bogut won’t be so easily coaxed into major foul trouble. But it may be their only real chance; there just aren’t enough other ways to score against this team given Memphis’ personnel when both Green and Bogut are at peak capacity.

Who Wins Game 2?

Unless Conley returns, and possibly even if he does, I don’t see much changing here in Game 2. The Warriors go to 6-0 in the postseason.

Ben Dowsett is a Deputy Editor and in-depth basketball analyst based in Salt Lake City. He covers the Jazz on a credentialed basis for Basketball Insiders, and has previously appeared in the Sports Illustrated and TrueHoop Networks. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.

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