After a heartbreaking 100-103 loss to the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors have one last chance to enter the 2021 playoffs on Friday, May 21 (Saturday, May 22, Manila time).
Standing in their way are the young, but gutsy 9th seed Memphis Grizzlies, led by 21-year-old rising star Ja Morant.
Just like the Warriors, the Grizzlies were expected to be seeded higher this season with Morant and other young stars leading the way.
However, Morant’s 21-year-old running mate Jaren Jackson Jr. recovered from his torn left knee meniscus way longer than anticipated, which led to the Grizzlies limping to a 38-34 season record.
But now, Morant and Jackson are back in business at just the right time, and they have plenty of capable support pieces like Jonas Valanciunas, Dillon Brooks, and Kyle Anderson.
Still, the young Grizzlies will have their hands full dealing with season MVP finalist Stephen Curry, who is arguably having the best run of his legendary career.
At 33 years old with no Klay Thompson to back him up, the last standing “Splash Brother” seized the season scoring title and gave the defending champion Lakers a huge scare in their epic play-in battle.
Despite the loss of Thompson and athletic swingman Kelly Oubre, Curry still has some help left in former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green and two-way forward Andrew Wiggins.
For the 16th and final spot left open in the 2021 NBA playoffs, the budding stars of the new generation will battle against a once-great dynasty still scrapping for their place at the top.
Will the Warriors return to the title hunt after a one-year absence or will the “Grindhouse” Grizzlies keep their underdog tale going?
Game time is 9 am.