The NBA's Western Conference Play-In Tournament Starts Tonight, which means one team will be eliminated tonight. One team can clinch the No. 7 seed and Two teams will have a shot at the No. 8 seed.
The rules are as following:
The No. 7 seed and No. 8 seed will play each other and the winner clinches the #7 seed. The loser will have to win the next game to clinch the No. 8 seed.
The No. 9 seed and No. 10 seed will play each other, with the winner getting a shot at No. 8 seed and the loser will be eliminated.
The No. 7 seed will play Phoenix in the first round and the No. 8 seed will play Utah.
#9 Memphis (-3) vs #10 San Antonio (+3)
May 19, 7:30 p.m.
The Memphis Grizzlies have exceed expectations for the second straight year. Their ultimate goal is still to make the playoffs and they can, but it all comes down to this. They almost clinched the eight-seed on the last day of the regular season, but a loss to the Warriors derailed that. Ja Morant needs to get hot from the outside. Morant has insane explosiveness and is a good defender, but struggles from the outside at times. For the first time this year the Grizzles do not have a lengthy injury report, just Grayson Allen (Abdominal) who is questionable. Allen coming back will be big, because he has that ability to get hot from deep and space the floor for Morant to attack. To win this game the Grizzlies will need more than just Morant. Jonas Valanciunas, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson Jr will have to play well.
The Spurs were an after thought at the beginning of season. DeMar DeRozan continues to be the most underappreciated superstar in the league. He was biggest snub of the all-star game after averaging 21.6 PPG this season. The Spurs started off as the sixth-seed going into the all-star break. After the all-star break they quickly fell apart and finished as the tenth-seed. For them to beat the Grizzles tonight, they will need more than DeRozan. Dejounte Murray will have to be more than a defender. Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, and Derrick White will have to help in scoring column with DeRozan and Murray to stick with a deep Grizzlies squad.
The Grizzlies. The Spurs have struggled in the second-half of the season and unless Popovich and co. have any tricks up their sleeves, the Grizzles should win.
#7 Los Angeles (-5.5) vs #8 Golden State (+5.5)
May 19, 10:00 p.m.
Coming into the season, no one knew what to think of the Warriors. Steph Curry is back, but Klay Thompson is not. How will Curry be without having all-star calibar players around him? How will Curry be now that Thompson is not their to save him on the defensive end? The Warriors made sure to put some defenders around him to help him, Kent Bazemore and Juan Toscano-Anderson. He has put together a season that in any other year would be worthy of an MVP. This year he barely make's my top five in the award. But to win this game Curry needs at least 50. Draymond Green needs to be able to handle Anthony Davis. He needs at least 22 out of Andrew Wiggins and since Kelly Oubre Jr. is still out someone else will also need to score at least 15. It will be tough, but an off-night from Curry means a blowout.
The defending champs, in a play-in game? Does not seem right, but the only team that was more injured was the Washington Wizards. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder are finally back and healthy. They will need all three of they want to repeat. To win this game Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso will have to contain Curry, not stop him, but contain him enough. Andre Drummond will have to be a presence on the boards tonight and Kyle Kuzma will have to be able to hit the open shots he is given. They are one Curry eruption from being the eight-seed.
The Lakers. Outside of Curry possibly dropping an insane amount of points tonight, there really is no advantage here for the Warriors. I'll lay out the each team's top five and rank who is better:
LeBron James > Steph Curry
Anthony Davis > Draymond Green
Dennis Schroder > Andrew Wiggins
Andre Drummond > Eric Paschall
Kyle Kuzma > Kevon Looney