Despite leading by double-digits at halftime, the Golden State Warriors fell to the Los Angeles Lakers 103-100 in the first round of the inaugural NBA play-in tournament on Wednesday night.
Because the Warriors entered the tournament as the No. 8 seed, their season is not over yet. On Friday, the Warriors will play the No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies, who won their play-in game vs. the No. 10 San Antonio Spurs earlier on Wednesday.
The stakes of the Warriors-Grizzlies game are simple enough: The winner gets the No. 8 seed in the playoffs and a first-round matchup with the Utah Jazz, while the loser will be done for the season.
Golden State has faced Memphis three times in 2020-21, with the two teams most recently meeting on Sunday in the regular season finale. That game — a convincing 113-101 victory for the Warriors — may be the only game worth reading into, because Golden State was operating without superstar Stephen Curry in the previous two matchups.
The Warriors played back-to-back games against the Grizzlies on March 19 and March 20, with Curry, then nursing a tailbone injury, suiting up for neither.
On March 19, the Warriors beat the Grizzlies 116-103, with the team being carried by Andrew Wiggins’ 40-point night. Reserve guard Jordan Poole added 25 points of his own. Golden State held Grizzlies star Ja Morant to 14 points and standout center Jonas Valanciunas to 10 points.
The following night, the Grizzlies defeated the Warriors 111-103. Morant was once again held to 14 points, but Valanciunas and wing Dillon Brooks both added 19 points. Poole led the Warriors in scoring with 26 points, while Wiggins had 20.