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A second straight NBA playoffs without the Golden State Warriors?

Steph Curry and the Warriors had a big halftime lead over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night but could not hold on. With the win, the Lakers locked up the No. 7 seed while the Warriors now must face the Memphis Grizzlies in what amounts to an elimination game.

The winner moves on to the playoffs as the No. 8 seed. The loser goes home.

The Warriors have the benefit of returning home for Friday night’s game. They are 5-point favorites over the Grizzlies, who held on to beat the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

It’s a matchup of two of the game’s most exciting players in Curry, the NBA scoring champion, and second-year Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. You know all about Curry. He has had to carry a massive load without Klay Thompson and ended up leading the league in scoring at 32 points per game, a career high at age 33.

The 21-year-old Morant is one of the most explosive athletes in the league and his game keeps improving. Morant had 20 points, six assists and six rebounds against the Spurs and got a ton of help from Jonas Valanciunas (23 points, 23 rebounds) and Dillon Brooks (24 points, seven rebounds).

It’s going to be hard not to put your money on the Warriors. The playoffs are just better with Curry on the court, but the Grizzlies have been one of the best teams against the spread in the NBA this season — especially on the road.

The Grizzlies are 42-31 overall ATS this season with an impressive 22-14 ATS record on the road. As a road underdog, Memphis is a very strong 13-8 ATS.

At the same time, though, the Warriors have done really well as home favorites, going 13-6 ATS in those situations. Golden State will almost certainly be the public side, so we won’t blame you if you want to be a contrarian and go with the underdog.

We also won’t blame you if you put your money behind Curry. He’s come through so many times in his career. You just have to wonder if he has enough of a supporting cast to do it this time around.

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