What Is the Golden State Warriors Best-Case Playoff Matchup?

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Feb 8, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) sets the play against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) during the game at the FedEx Forum. Memphis Grizzlies defeat the Golden State Warriors 99-93. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden–USA TODAY Sports

Marc Gasol vs. Andrew Bogut
While Bogut stopped the Grizzlies big man before, at 7’1, 265, Gasol’s is difficult to contain.  If Bogut makes Gasol work on defense, it will play greatly to the Warriors advantage, but the overall matchup goes to Memphis in the battle of the centers.

Zach Randolph vs. David Lee
Randolph’s a highly skilled big man, but so is David Lee; either player can outscore the other. Both men deservedly made the All-Star team as reserves, Randolph averaging over 15 points and 11 rebounds, Lee averaging over 18 and 11. This is a battle of wills that both men have won before; at power forward, the teams are neck and neck.

Tayshaun Prince vs. Harrison Barnes
When he was younger, Tayshaun Prince would have been a real piece of work for Harrison Barns. However, the 33-year old will be outrun, out-hustled and out-muscled by Barnes. Harrison, demonstrating quality shots and highlight-reel dunks in his rookie year, promises to have an exciting career. Look for the star rookie to have an impressive postseason.

Tony Allen vs. Klay Thompson
With astute defense, a deadly three-point shot, and youth, Klay Thompson wins this matchup with ease. Tony Allen is a quality player, but only clocks 27 minutes, as Quincy Pondexter and Jerryd Bayless eat into his playing time.

Mike Conley vs. Stephen Curry 
This season, Mike Conley’s averaged his highest points per game so far in his six year career. He is a consistent shooter, and good for six assists a game. But Curry is flat-out better. He records a higher field goal/ three point/ free throw percentage, assist rate, and scores nearly eight points more per game than Conley. Not to mention that on the big stage, be it as the sole scorer for Davidson in the NCAA tournament, or shining in the historic Madison Square Garden, Curry’s tendency is to go off.

Looking at the starters, Memphis’s advantage is down low in the post; however the Warriors bigs have the capacity to be the better tandem. The Warriors clearly own the backcourt. As for the rest of the team, Warriors played together all year, they’re meshing as the season ends–at times looking unbeatable. The Grizzlies mid-season trades changed much of the team, they don’t have the cohesion of the Warriors.

Yes, the Grizzlies would be the best first round opponent for the Warriors. The Warriors shouldn’t care though. The game at hand is what’s important; it should consume their focus. As they finish the last game of the season, it will be time to think look at the matchup in front of them. True Warriors fans shouldn’t worry about who their team plays; in fact, they should hunger for challenging opponents and epic nail-biting series. The champion welcomes the greatest challenges set before him; it’s more difficult, but that’s what makes legends.

And, it’s always possible when we believe.