Are Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors the brand new favorites to win the Western Conference? It form of feels that manner after the Suns misplaced to the Pelicans on Tuesday evening and Devin Booker suffered a hamstring harm. The Warriors are firing on all cylinders towards the Nuggets and look to take a 3-0 collection lead on Thursday evening in Denver. The Warriors are favored by 1.5 factors. The Athletic’s NBA writers are right here to get you prepared for Thursday’s three playoff video games with odds, skilled predictions and storylines.

Every day throughout the NBA Playoffs, The Athletic’s writers will make their picks, straight up. We put our picks and all collection protection, plus the most recent odds, multi function place for followers to simply digest and observe. Our in-depth NBA protection is linked beneath the picks. Game recaps and previews by Zach Harper. For reside NBA odds from BetMGM, click here.

Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves  — 7:30 p.m. ET — TNT

Team Spread Total Moneyline

-1.5

237.5

-125

+105

Game 2: Grizzlies 124, Wolves 96 | Series tied 1-1

Who was the man? Ja Morant. We had a bit little bit of a scare when Karl-Anthony Towns’ knee hit Morant within the thigh on a display within the second half, however he got here again and completed off a spectacular effort. Morant blew by Patrick Beverley prefer it was a pre-draft drill. He completed with 23 factors, 10 assists and 9 rebounds. It felt like he had far more of all the things. He obtained wherever he needed to, and the Wolves merely couldn’t even take into consideration containing him.

What was the important thing right here? Memphis went small, and Minnesota had zero solutions for it. Taylor Jenkins pulled the plug on Steven Adams defending Towns fairly early into the sport. The Grizzlies used Jaren Jackson Jr.Brandon Clarke and Xavier Tillman completely on this recreation. They nonetheless had size and power, however the athleticism was quite a bit for Minnesota to deal with. That would possibly should be the search for them the remainder of the collection.

What can the Grizzlies do to win Game 3? How do you retain replicating this efficiency? Memphis had one fewer assisted basket (29) on this recreation than the Wolves had whole made baskets (30). The versatility and the motion the Grizzlies had on this recreation is way an excessive amount of for a Wolves workforce that likes to play quick. The Grizzlies want to remain small and versatile. This will not be a collection Adams can play in. That’s superb. Beat the Wolves at their very own recreation as a result of that’s your recreation, too.

What can the Wolves do to win Game 3? If the Grizzlies go small, possibly it’s time for the Wolves to go massive. Not personnel-wise, however how they use Towns. He’s such a gifted publish participant, however he does battle towards the double workforce. He’s going to should be extra decisive with the ball in the event that they go this route. Step-through on swarming doubles. Space the ground so the move out is simple for Towns to see, swing the ball and knock down 3-pointers. If it causes Adams to return again in, then transfer Towns to the perimeter and let it fly.

Writer Straight up choose

Dave DuFour

Richard Deitsch

Andrew Schlecht

Michael Beller

Sam Vecenie

Jason Jones

James L. Edwards III

Or Moyal

Cole Huff


Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz — 8 p.m. ET — NBA TV

Team Spread Total Moneyline

+200

-6.5

210.5

-250

Game 2: Mavericks 110, Jazz 104 | Series tied 1-1

Key stat: Three turnovers. The Mavs turned the ball over simply 3 times and gave up 4 factors off these turnovers. Rudy Gobert had 4 turnovers on his personal. As spectacular because the Mavs making 11 extra 3-pointers than the Jazz was, their management of the ball was much more unbelievable.

What can the Jazz do to win Game 3? Stop counting on Gobert to be the regular-season Gobert within the fourth quarter of those video games. He was nice in Game 1. He was not nice in Game 2. They want to assist him on the perimeter, however the Mavs should not frightened about his rotations in any respect. The Jazz are enjoying proper into the arms of their opponents. Everybody on that Jazz workforce — together with Gobert and Quin Snyder — has to look within the mirror and alter the best way they play within the postseason.

What can the Mavs do to win Game 3? Getting Luka Doncic again could be large, however they simply should do what they’ll to get into the center of the paint. Once they get there, the Jazz can’t do something to cease them apart from pray a missed shot is on the best way. The Mavericks have performed an excellent job on Mitchell, however they’re getting torched by Bojan Bogdanovic. They can’t let him proceed to be the protection valve. He’s one of many few Jazz gamers prepared for the

Writer Straight up choose

Dave DuFour

Richard Deitsch

Andrew Schlecht

Michael Beller

Sam Vecenie

Jason Jones

James L. Edwards III

Or Moyal

Cole Huff


Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets  — 10 p.m. ET — TNT

Team Spread Total Moneyline

-1.5

224.5

-125

+105

Game 2: Warriors 126, Nuggets 106 | Warriors lead 2-0

Who was the man? Steph Curry. The Warriors’ new sixth man was incendiary off the bench. With Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson terrorizing the Denver perimeter to begin the sport, having Curry are available to be the change of tempo is borderline bullying. Curry completed with 34 factors off the bench in 23 minutes. You can’t all the time consider in single-game plus/minus, however consider Curry’s +32 in 23 minutes.

What was the important thing right here? The Warriors’ new demise lineup? I’m unsure what nickname it’s been given, however the Curry-Poole-Thompson-Andrew Wiggins-Draymond Green group has wreaked havoc throughout Denver. It’s performed 11 minutes collectively on this collection and is +29. It has 47 factors on 22 pictures, and the lineup is posting a real taking pictures of 82.0 %.

What can the Nuggets do to win Game 3? Slow issues manner down. They might need to make this as ugly as doable. They’re getting nothing from Aaron Gordon and Austin Rivers — two guys who’re alleged to defend. They’re giving their workforce nothing on each ends of the ground. If it can save you a few of Nikola Jokic’s power, gradual all the things manner down and muck it up, possibly Jokic can pull a bit magic out.

Writer Straight up choose

Dave DuFour

Richard Deitsch

Andrew Schlecht

Michael Beller

Sam Vecenie

Jason Jones

James L. Edwards III

Or Moyal

Cole Huff


Hollinger: Picking every 2022 NBA playoff series
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(Photo of Jordan Poole and Stephen Curry: Ray Chavez / MediaNews Group / The Mercury News by way of Getty Images)



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