2021 NBA Play-in Tournament – Game 3 Preview
- When: May 19, 2021
- Time: 7:30 PM EST
- TV: ESPN
- Where: FedexForum, Memphis, Tennessee
(9) Memphis Grizzlies
There used to be a once upon a time where there were two well-known big men who battled it out between these two teams. However, long gone from the NBA is Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol is playing his best life in Barcelona? Well, the Grizzlies definitely enter this season with a bit of redemption in mind. They lost Jaren Jackson Jr. in the bubble last season.
Furthermore, Memphis was the guinea pig of the Play-in Tournament happened last year between the Grizzlies and the Trailblazers. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies ended up on the bad side of the deal. After holding the 8th seed all season they were overtaken by the Blazers and missed the playoffs. They KNOW what it’s like to be so close but yet a season’s work all down the drain after one loss. The good news is this season is that Jackson Jr. made his return on April 21st, 2021.
The young leader of Memphis is Ja Morant. He is the Grizzlies 2nd pick overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. At age 21 I prefer we give the Grizzlies the benefit of the doubt not to count them out but don’t disappointed in any shortcomings. What I like about Memphis is their ability to defend the ball. A team that hangs out in the top 10 Defensive Team Rating. Ranking next to Milwaukee, Phoenix, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Heat is the benefit of the doubt that they are the easy favorite for this game.
(10) San Antonio Spurs
That good old saying, “never count the Spurs out”, and yet here we are again. First, let’s honor the great Tim Duncan who just recently was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Even more so, the success he brought to San Antonio still lingers on as the Spurs have a chance to return back to the playoffs.
DeMar DeRozan has led the team in scoring all season and the Spurs also cut ties with LaMarcus Aldridge who also retired due to health issues after signing with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent. The Spurs are truly the team that always flies under the radar. However, is there something impressive about them this season?
That answer to me is a no. They are an average defensive team that allows 50 points in the paint while rated an average defensive team this season. The concern here also is that San Antonio also shoots the three-ball as a team 35-percent on the season. This is the WORSE among teams in the Play-in Tournament. The Grizzlies game plan could be to limit the interior scoring while running and gunning to the basket on the offensive end. Ja Morant getting scoring 8+ points in the paint? I’ll bet on that easy against San Antonio.
Top players to watch
Ja Morant: 2020-2021 Season
- 19.1 PPG
- 7.4 APG
- 4.0 RPG
- 45% FG
DeMar DeRozan: 2020-2021 Season
- 21.6 PPG
- 6.9 APG
- 4.2 RPG
- 50% FG
Where should the money go?
Out of the Play-in Tournament games, the Western Conference seems to be the easiest to bet on the favorite picks. I will personally advocate taking the Grizzlies at home here. Memphis has defeated the Spurs two out of the three times these teams faced each other this season.
In the two games, the Grizzlies won their average margin of victory was 24 points. Take that for some food for thought.
2021 NBA Play-in Tournament Schedule – Western Conference
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Thursday, May 20, 2021