Third Quarter Warriors Return to Save the Day Against Memphis, Warriors win 117-101
While looking to extend their season-high seven-game winning streak, the Golden State Warriors (9-1) took on the Memphis Grizzlies (5-3). The Warriors were coming off of a hard-fought win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, whereas the Grizzlies were on the back end of a back-to-back in which they lost their first game in heartbreaking fashion to the Suns. The Grizzlies were looking to not only end the Warriors winning streak, but also to prove themselves as a top-dog and playoff contender in the West against the reigning two-time champs. The Warriors were just looking to handle their business and dispatch of the Grizzlies with relative ease, but they would have to do so without Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. The Golden State Warriors went on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 117-101.
The first quarter got started with Damian Jones picking off a pass which led to a Klay Thompson bank shot in transition, and Klay drilled another mid range shot on the next possession. Mike Conley got the Grizzlies on the board with a three and a layup to give them a lead. The two teams were playing slowly to start the quarter, almost as if they were feeling each other out, trying to gauge the level of intensity required for this game. The two teams were going back-and-forth, and by the time the Grizzlies called timeout with 7:03 left in the quarter the Warriors led 12-11. Klay Thompson had six points before the timeout, and both teams were doing most of their scoring from inside the arc. Dillon Brooks made a corner three to start the scoring after the stoppage, two minutes after the stoppage, and Klay Thompson made a three on the next possession to keep the Warriors ahead. The Grizzlies were playing very solid basketball between timeouts, and that was reflected in the score. They forced the Warriors to play slow, and they were playing very good defense. They were getting to the line a decent amount too, which only helped their cause. When the Warriors called timeout with 2:46 left in the quarter, the Grizzlies had a 21-19 lead. Marc Gasol made two free throws after the timeout, and Dillon Brooks made another three before Stephen Curry made his first three of the night. The Grizzlies were in control for the entire quarter, getting open looks and making looks that weren’t open, but they just couldn’t pull away from the Warriors. Jonas Jerebko came off the bench and scored a quick five points on a three and some free throws, and he was a big reason for the score being as close as it was after the first quarter. Klay Thompson had nine points after the first and KD added eight of his own. Dillon Brooks had 11 points to lead the Grizzlies. After the first quarter, the Grizzlies led 31-29.
Klay Thompson tied the score with a mid range jumper on the first possession of the second quarter, but Jaren Jackson Jr. un-tied the score with a basket from the post. The two teams were still playing at Memphis’ preferred pace (slow), and they had the edge due to that. Klay Thompson did make another shot, but he was the only Warrior to get anything going on offense to start the quarter. The Grizzlies were just a whirlwind on defense, it was pretty impressive. The Warriors were also playing solid defense, but the Grizzlies were taking advantage of turnovers to get more looks and make those good looks. When the Warriors called timeout with 7:36 left in the half, the Grizzlies had a 40-35 lead. Kevin Durant got a tough runner to fall to start the scoring, and he then made a baseline jumper on the next possession to pull the Warriors within one. Marshon Brooks didn’t like the one-point lead and made a three to get the Grizzlies going again. Alfonzo McKinnie made a wing three to tie the game though, just continuing his spectacular play to begin the year. The Grizzlies just kept playing their way though, and were suffocating the Warriors with their defense. The Warriors, while they did manage to tie the game, just couldn’t get any consistent offense.The Grizzlies took the lead thanks to a lot of layups and short two’s from around the basket, it was a team effort and no one was really dominating for them. It was almost Spurs-like. When the Warriors called timeout with 2:57 left in the half, the Grizzlies led 53-47. Stephen Curry connected on a three while being fouled to get the scoring started for the Warriors, and that was the beginning of the Warriors coming back to tie the game heading to halftime. I am hesitant to say that they “stormed back” into the game because they were still playing the slow, methodical kind of basketball that the Grizzlies force teams into, but they came back. Both teams made several free throws and the Warriors found themselves down three with 20 seconds left, but Klay Thompson nailed a wing three to tie the game with three seconds left. At halftime, the Warriors and Grizzlies were tied at 58 points.
Klay Thompson was the leading scorer for both teams in the half with 18 points on 7/12 shooting. Kevin Durant had 16 on 5/6 shooting, and Stephen Curry had 10 on 3/11 shooting. No one was having the tremendous game that the Warriors have made us fans accustomed to so far this year, but it was a solid first half from Klay and KD. The team combined to shoot 45% (18/40) from the floor and 50% (6/12) from three. They turned the ball over seven times though, which was where the Grizzlies were really hurting the Warriors. Speaking of the Grizzlies, they shot a combined 52.3% (23/44) from the floor and 29.4 (5/17) from three. Dillon Brooks had 11 points on 4/7 shooting to lead the team, but they were getting solid contributions from all over the roster. Seven different Grizzlies had at least five points, and everyone who touched the floor scored for them. The Grizzlies combined for six blocks too, which was a crucial part of the lethal defense they were playing in the first half.
Stephen Curry drilled an elbow jumper to start the third quarter for the Warriors, and Garrett Temple answered back with a three for the Grizzlies. The two teams went back-and-forth for the next several minutes with neither team able to grab a firm grip on the lead. Both teams were playing great defense. Shelvin Mack and Mike Conley were hounding Steph, not letting him get any looks causing the offense to stall. The Warriors were playing solid defense, but just couldn’t take advantage on the offensive end. This game was dragging and timeout was called with 6:59 left in the quarter when the Warriors had a 66-65 lead. Jordan Bell got the Warriors going after the timeout with a running bank shot, and Kevon Looney got a shot to fall after an offensive rebound to get the Warriors a six-point lead, their largest of the night. That shot from Looney forced a Grizzlies timeout with 5:25 left in the quarter and the Warriors leading 69-65. Shelvin Mack got a layup to fall to start the scoring after the stoppage, but Klay Thompson responded with a three to add to the lead. The Warriors were beginning to click as Alfonzo McKinnie made a mid range jumper followed by a Stephen Curry three to get the lead to 10 points, their largest of the night. Kevin Durant then nailed mid range jumpers on two-straight possessions to give the Warriors a 14-point lead and force a Memphis timeout. The stoppage occurred with 1:48 left in the quarter and the Warriors leading 85-71. Kevon Looney got a tough layup to fall to get the scoring started again. The Grizzlies missed two free throws and a potentially powerful dunk in transition before Alfonzo McKinnie nailed a corner three. Mike Conley made a pull-up jumper to end a nearly four-minute scoring drought for the Grizzlies before Stephen Curry made two free throws to close out the quarter. The Warriors of 2018-19 became the Warriors of 2017-18 again, and the third quarter was the third quarter of death. The Warriors combined to shoot 49.2% (31/63) from the floor and 50% (9/18) from three through three quarters while the Grizzlies sho t43.8% (28/64) from the floor and 27.3% from three. Kevin Durant had 22 points to lead all scorers, and Klay Thompson was close behind with 21 points of his own. Stephen Curry also added 19 points. Dillon Brooks had 13 points to lead the Grizzlies and the next-highest scorer was Jaren Jackson Jr. with 11 points. The Warriors ended the quarter on a 32-10 run and led 92-73 after three quarters.
Klay Thompson got a layup to fall to open the scoring in the fourth quarter, and MarShon answered with a three on the other end. The Warriors were still rolling though, and were being led by Alfonzo McKinnie who was just straight-up BALLING. He nailed a jumper and threw down an incredible dunk in transition to force a Memphis timeout with 8:46 left in the game and the Warriors leading 102-77. The rest of the quarter was garbage time, the game was over and the buzzer just hadn’t sounded yet. While it was garbage time, there were still several notable things that happened in the quarter. The most prominent being Quinn Cook, who drilled four threes and looked like he was getting into a real rhythm for the first time this year. The Warriors managed to maintain their lead during garbage time, and they ended up winning the game 117-101.
Klay Thompson finished as the game’s leading scorer with 27 points on 11/21 shooting. Kevin Durant dropped an efficient 21 points on 7/11 shooting while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out six assists. Stephen Curry finished with 19 points on 6/17 shooting, it was probably his worst game of the season as he committed five turnovers on top of his rough shooting night. He did grab five rebounds and dish out seven assists though, oh, and he made a great block to keep the score tied heading to halftime. Alfonzo McKinnie continued his incredible stretch to start the year for the Warriors with 14 points on 6/9 shooting. He has been remarkable and has become a key rotation player for the reigning champions.
The Warriors bench had a very solid game, they finished with 45 points. Quinn Cook had 13 points and made four threes in the fourth quarter. Kevon Looney had nine points, nine rebounds, and a game-high +26 +/-. The Warriors finished the game shooting a combined 50.6% (41/81) from the floor, 54.2% (13/24) from three, and 95.7% (22/23) from the charity stripe.
The Grizzlies played very well in the first half, and were getting contributions all game from all over their roster. Everyone who touched the floor scored for the Grizzlies. Dillon Brooks led the team in scoring with 18 points on 6/13 shooting and he was one of four players in double figures. Joining him in that group was Jaren Jackson Jr. (15, 6/16), Shelvin Mack (15, 5/10), and Garrett Temple (13, 6/10). Marc Gasol nearly had a triple-double despite only attempting two shots. He scored eight points, dished out nine assists, and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting a combined 45.8% (38/83) from the floor, 33% (9/27) from three, and 76.2% (16/21) from the line.
This was a good win for the Warriors, they played against the second-best defense in the NBA this year, and the Grizzlies typically hold their opponents below 100 points. They Warriors looked like they were going to be in trouble during that first half, but they were spectacular to finish the game and close out the Grizzlies without several key players in Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston.
Draymond injured his foot in the first half, and briefly returned in the third quarter before heading to the locked room for the rest of the game. Steve Kerr said postgame that the x-rays on his foot were negative, so it probably isn’t an injury to worry about too much, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on.
Overall, this was a good win. While Stephen Curry didn’t explode like he has been, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant carried much of the load offensively. The bench stepped up down the stretch as three key Warriors were out, and Alfonzo McKinnie led the charge and now is getting some of the national recognition that he deserves.
The Warriors play next on Thursday, November 8, at home against the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m.