The Golden State Warriors face off against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday Night at the Chase Center in the NBA Play-In Tournament’s contest to determine who will be the Western Conference's No.8 seed in the playoffs.

Both teams were involved in thrilling contests Wednesday night in the opening games of the inaugural Play-In Tournament. The Grizzlies prevented their season from ending by defeating the San Antonio Spurs in the 9th vs 10th seed elimination game 100-96 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. The Warriors proceeded that game in narrowly failing to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakes 103-100 at the Staples Center with a LeBron James' long-distance clutch three pointer as the difference.  

Those two results have the Grizzlies and Warriors facing off in a "Do-or-Die" rematch from Sunday's regular season finale for the final Playoffs spot and a first round series matchup against the West's top seed, the Utah Jazz. Steve Kerr’s side are the home favorites, as Taylor Jenkins' young Grindhouse squad will have to play their best to pull off one of the franchise’s greatest wins ever.

Regular Season Series

In their three games against each other in the regular season, the Warriors won the season series 2-1, with the final win coming on Sunday's season finale day to give the Bay Area side the 8th seed and home court advantage for this game.

The first two games are practically irrelevant to Friday’s elimination duel, as the March 19th and 20th contests in Memphis were without the presence of Warriors superstar Steph Curry. Golden State were fine without their legendary point guard in game one, however, as Andrew Wiggins’ 40-point performance was the catalyst to a dominant 116-103 win. The Grizzlies would bounce back the next night, getting a tight 111-103 victory with six players in double digits key to their instant revenge. 

But their high profile finale game last Sunday did feature Curry, as the MVP candidate capped off arguably the best season of his career with a 46 points display in the Warriors 113-101 win.

Over/Under Final Score Total, 220

Both teams are among the best in the NBA at protecting their basket, ranking in the top six for defensive efficiency this past season. That is predicated by both teams versatile athleticism on the perimeter, and having wide, solid bodies strong enough on the glass with their star point guards, Curry and Ja Morant, facilitating in the rebounding department. 

In all three regular season games, both teams combined to score under 220 points. Curry’s jaw-dropping presence does make it possible for a late, final surge to pick the over. But it would be wise, with the Grizzlies’ ability to slow down the pace and their inability to be explosive offensively, to bet the under here.

MoneyLine Prediction (Grizzlies +160, Warriors -190)

The Grizzlies displayed on Sunday, and throughout this season, that their defense is strong against an offense led by a special scorer in Curry to stay in games deep into the final posessions. But they will need not only center Jonas Valanciunas to replicate his 20-20 tremendous performance against the Spurs (and his 29 point, 16 rebound statline last Sunday vs Golden State), but for their franchise point guard Morant to produce his best game of his two-year career to match Curry at least in points.

Morant’s struggles at the three-point line this season have been evident, holding him back from reaching the next level with his dynamic, high-flying, unselfish skill set. Sunday’s loss was the culmination of his below league average 30.3 percent three point shooting this season, going just 1 for 6 from beyond the arc and 8 for 20 overall from the field for 20 points. If Curry is close to outscoring him by 26 points again on Friday, it will be “1,2,3 Cancun” for Morant and his crew.

And I see that off-season time beginning in San Francisco as the case for Memphis, as the return of Jaren Jackson Jr. from a torn meniscus in last season’s NBA Disney Bubble has come too late to get him near his dexterous best. Memphis’ scoring issues coincide with a Warriors team, despite the absences of Kelly Oubre Jr, rookie center James Wiseman and Damion Lee, playing their best basketball at both ends of the court since Curry’s historic scoring explosion began in April.

Go with the Warriors on the moneyline.

Spread (Warriors -4.5)

It would be a little surprising, with how well coached and intense Memphis are, if a Warriors' blowout win occurs (and one of the most unforeseen events in years if the Grizzlies secured a dominant victory).

Once again, however, the concerns over the Grizzlies not being above average on the offensive end loom as the defining aspect of this anticipated game on Friday. Add the fact that it’s not only Curry being at his zenith a stern test for Jenkins' side to deal with on Friday, but also Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and even Juan Toscano-Anderson in great points scoring rhythms as well make it a task too difficult for a young, promising Grizzlies team.

Lay the 4.5 points on the Warriors to cover.

The Golden State Warriors are a Betway sponsored team.