Ranking the Golden State Warriors’ Potential Playoff Matchups

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5. Memphis Grizzlies – Prediction: Memphis wins series 4-0

The Memphis Grizzlies are not the best team in the Western Conference, but they’re far and away the worst playoff matchup for the Warriors.

The Grizzlies hold their opponents to only 89.5 points per game (best in the league) on 33.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc (third best in the league). Marc Gasol has evolved into the best overall power forward/center in the league at this point, and he’s capable of doing this to Golden State’s hit-or-miss interior defense.

April 07, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings small forward John Salmons (5) battles between Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph (50), center Marc Gasol (33) and shooting guard Tony Allen (9) before a shot clock violation during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Grizzlies won 89-87. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis’ own superb defense blanked the Warriors in all three of their regular season games. As much as the Warriors front office would like us to believe that a Lee-Bogut backcourt could rank alongside other elite pairings, neither holds a candle to Zach Randolph and Gasol, who have managed to keep the Grizzlies relevant despite many teams’ growing reliance on faster, smaller lineups.

Two seasons ago, Memphis shocked San Antonio in the first round with its slowed down, grind-it-out style of play. The Warriors reliance on undersized lineups for instant offense also creates instant matchup issues on the boards. Memphis Head Coach Lionel Hollins would be all too happy to exploit.