Following the first Play-In Tournament games, the 2023 NBA Playoffs are getting closer to their final shape. Now, only the top teams in the league are a step closer to winning the championship. With the Memphis Grizzlies set to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, it means it is time for some Grizzlies NBA Playoffs bold predictions.

Memphis finished the regular season with a 51-31 record, good enough to give the team the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Although it was a 50-win season, the Grizzlies had five more losses than they had in 2021-22.

Notably, Memphis had a 35-6 record at home while they went only 16-25 on the road.

On the other side of the matchup, the Lakers had many ups and downs throughout the season. They started 2-10 but bounced back to end the regular season 43-39. They ended up securing the No. 7 seed after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday in the Play-In Tournament.

Memphis and Los Angeles squared off three times in the regular season with the Lakers winning the series 2-1. However, in all three games, one major player such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis or Ja Morant did not play. Because of that, it might be difficult to project the series based on their previous encounters.

With that being said, here are three bold predictions for the Memphis Grizzlies as they kick off their 2023 NBA Playoffs first round versus the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

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3. Grizzlies hold LeBron James to at most 50% from the field

If there is one player that the Grizzlies should pay extra attention to it is LeBron James. Despite being in his 20th season in the league and dealing with injuries for most of it, the 19-time All-Star still put up big numbers when healthy.

James averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists plus 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks a night. He shot 50% from the field, 32.1% from beyond the arc and 76.8% from the free-throw line.

In his lone game against the Grizzlies this year, James scored 23 points with nine boards, six assists, two blocks and two steals in a 122-121 victory. However, he went just 8-for-21 from the field, including 1-for-5 on his 3-point attempts.

With hopes of advancing to the semifinals, the Grizzlies must contain James as much as possible. Since he is making over 50% of his field goals over the past three seasons, one way to limit his impact is by hurting his efficiency. The bold prediction is that Memphis will hold James to at most 50% from the field, and he might even have some poor shooting performances like the one mentioned above.

2. Ja Morant averages over 30-7-5 for the series

As for the Grizzlies, they will need all they can get from Ja Morant. The guard was having a big season until he missed multiple games due to an off-court incident that required him to step away from the organization.

When available, Morant recorded 26.2 points, 8.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds plus over a steal per game. He made 46.6% of his field goals, 30.7% of his 3-pointers and 74.8% of his free throws.

In two games versus the Lakers this season, he put up 30.5 points with 9.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds. That includes a triple-double in Memphis' lone victory in the series in the regular season.

Since Morant is having a big year when on the court, the bold prediction is that he will go off in this first round. Expect him to average over 30-7-5 for the series. Should that happen, the Grizzlies will be in good shape to eliminate the Lakers.

1. Series goes to seven games

Following Los Angeles' resurgence post-trade deadline, many consider the Lakers one of the scariest low-seeded teams in recent memory. Now that it seems James and Davis are healthy to some extent, they could be a more notable threat than what their seed shows.

According to FanDuel, the Grizzlies are the favorites to win the series. Currently, the odds are -130, which is so far the lowest odds among all playoff series that already have both teams determined.

As it was previously mentioned, the Lakers won the series in the regular season with both teams missing important players in those matchups. It is worth noting that the home team came out with the victory on all three occasions. Should the Grizzlies open the series 2-0, it might be difficult for Los Angeles to overcome it.

The bold prediction is this will end up being one of, if not the best first-round series in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. It would not be a surprise to see many back-and-forth performances with high scorers, even overtime if necessary and teams stealing games on the road. If there is one series that could go to seven games, this is the one.