We went into Wednesday night’s Lakers-Warriors game knowing that one team with a former Marquette player would be sent along to Friday night’s #8 seed game. On Wednesday at Staples Center, Golden State and Juan Toscano-Anderson gave up a halftime lead and fell to Los Angeles and Wesley Matthews by a final score of 103-100. The game-winning bucket goes to LeBron James, as he hit a desperation three-pointer as the shot clock expired right in Steph Curry’s face in the final minute of the game.
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That game decided the #7 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, but left the #8 seed still unsettled. That’s what we’re here to talk about, as Golden State will host the Memphis Grizzlies tonight with that last spot in the playoffs on the line. Winner of this one game gets the top seeded Utah Jazz in the first round, the loser sees their season come to an end.
Memphis got here by way of a 100-96 victory over San Antonio in the front half of Wednesday night’s doubleheader. That one came down to the last few minutes, as a 7-2 burst late by the Grizzlies gave them a 94-87 lead with three minutes to go. That didn’t really end the game, as Rudy Gay did drain a three for the Spurs with just barely under 10 seconds left to make it a three point ball game, but it was too little time to do anything but foul Ja Morant and the noted Marquette killer split his freebies to end the game.
Dillon Brooks was the high scorer of the game for the Grizzlies there, getting 24 points on 10-for-21 shooting. Jonas Valanciunas had the best game out of anyone on the Memphis roster, going for 23 points and 23 rebounds plus three blocks along the way. Morant “only” had 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
Golden State was up 13 on LA at halftime of their game, which was the biggest lead of the game for the visitors. The Lakers outscored them by 11 in the third quarter, 35-24, which wiped most of that lead out, although it was 74-66 Warriors with 3:59 to go. That late quarter collapse kept going as the fourth period started and the Lakers scored the first eight points to take an 85-79 lead. Golden State battled back, and a layup from Andrew Wiggins with 5:42 to go tied the thing back up at 91 each. It was a tight battle from there all the way up until James hit that three late and then the Warriors couldn’t even get it inbounded to have a chance to tie.
Steph Curry had 37 points to lead the way for Golden State, adding seven rebounds and three assists to his night. The Lakers had 20-plus point outings from both James (22) and Anthony Davis (25), while Davis had a double-double with 12 rebounds and James hit a triple-double with 11 rebounds and 10 assists to push the Dubs on to Friday night’s game. OUR GUY~! Juan Toscano-Anderson chipped in nine points, six rebounds, a block, and an assist in 26 minutes off the bench, while OUR GUY~! Wesley Matthews had three points, one rebound, and one assist in 14 minutes off the bench. All 14:28 of Matthews’ playing time came in the second half, and he finished with a quite astounding +17 in plus/minus in his limited action. Get it together, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel!
2021 NBA Play-In Tournament
#8 Seed Game
#8 Golden State Warriors vs #9 Memphis Grizzlies
Date: Friday, May 21, 2021
Time: 8pm Central
Location: Chase Arena, San Francisco, California