If Quin Snyder was smart, he’d already have the Utah Jazz preparing to play the Golden State Warriors for Game One of their first-round series that will start Sunday night in Salt Lake City. Any time spent on game planning for Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies will be a waste of time, given that their season will end tonight.
Expect to see the Davidson version of Steph Curry this evening, which means that it’s time for the Grizzlies to “go fishin’.”
“It is a win-or-go-home scenario, but we’ve had a high confidence and put together a string of wins and had a tough loss and had to bounce back, so we’ve been there,” Curry said after the Warriors lost to the Lakers on Wednesday night. “We’re obviously very familiar with Memphis and understanding what it’s going to take to beat those guys again. ... We’re a good team right now that knows how to compete and carry that same identity into Friday and come out swinging.”
The last two times Curry and the Warriors played in a winner-take-all game they’ve come up short. But, that’s because they were facing teams that were led by LeBron James, and wound up losing due to two of the greatest shots in postseason history.
There has been a five-day stretch since Golden State and Memphis last played and it wound up being the game in which the Warriors locked up the eight seed as they won 113-101, while Curry became the oldest scoring champion since Michael Jordan at age 35 in 1998 – finishing with 46 points.
The play-in tournament has been the closest thing we’ve seen to NBA players in a March Madness-style environment. For most of these guys, they haven’t been in a win-or-go-home situation — outside of a Game 7 — since college or high school. In a seven-game series, the best team almost always wins, which is the exact opposite of how tournaments work. You just need to be the best team on that day, and the Warriors are led by a player that made his name off tournament play. Because in case you forgot, this what happened when Curry played in his lone NCAA Tournament.
March 21, 2008: No. 10 Davidson vs. No. 7 Gonzaga – Wildcats won 82-76, and Curry had 40.
March 23, 2008: No. 10 Davidson vs. No. 2 Georgetown – Wildcats won 74-70, Curry dropped 30.
March 28, 2008: No. 10 Davidson vs. No. 3 Wisconsin – Wildcats won 73-56 with LeBron in attendance, Curry had 33.
March 30, 2008: No. 10 Davidson vs. No. 1 Kansas – Wildcats lost to the eventual champs 57-59, as Curry scored 43.8 percent of his team’s points and ended the night with 25.
And if you’re wondering, Curry went for 32 and 26 during his junior year when Davidson played two games in the NIT.
“I was even telling Jordan Bell on the bench in the third quarter — I missed this,” Curry said on Wednesday. “It had been almost two years since the Finals that we were here in a game that had those types of consequences. It’s what you live for. It’s what you work so hard for. It brings out the best in you in terms of your competitiveness and all that. I love it. So we can run it back Friday and, hopefully, all next week.”