Warriors Bullied by the Grizzlies - Lose 111-101
The Warriors wrapped up their first back-to-back of the year tonight, in a game versus the Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors traditionally struggle against the Grizzlies, as their hard-nosed style of play can wear teams out, and in the back half of a back-to-back, the Warriors were very vulnerable to the playstyle of the Grizzlies.
The first quarter saw the Warriors allow the Grizzlies to take a lead, and the Warriors didn’t necessarily look bad, but they looked slow. This was to be expected because this was the second night of a back-to-back. The Warriors allowed the Grizzlies to hit four threes, while the Warriors only hit three. Stephen Curry led the team in scoring in the first quarter with 10 points, five of which came on free throws. Klay Thompson continued to be hot to open the season, drilling a three-pointer to open the game, and ended the quarter with five points. The Warriors were down 31-26 after the first quarter.
The Grizzlies stayed hot to open up the second quarter, and Stephen Curry found himself in foul trouble, picking up four in the first half, which caused Steve Kerr to have to sit him for the rest of the half. At one point, the Grizzlies had a 13-point lead. Stephen Curry got hot and hit two threes before picking up his fourth foul. Before Steph had to sit for the rest of the quarter, the rest of the team was 10-29, with only 26 points. Once Steph had to sit, the rest of the team started to heat up, especially Kevin Durant, who ended the half with 16 points. Overall, the Warriors did not shoot the ball well in the half, only hitting 38.1% of their shots, meanwhile the Grizzlies shot 46.3 percent overall, including 50% on three’s. The Grizzlies led at the half with a score of 56-51.
The third quarter was a combination of the Warriors playing terrible defense, and the Warriors shooting the ball horribly. The team somehow managed to only score 20 points in the quarter, while the grizzlies scored 32. Steph was the only player who was playing decently on the offensive side of the ball, scoring 28 points, with 11 of them coming on free throws. Through three-quarters, the Warriors shot 34.4% from the field, and 29% on threes, which is just atrocious, especially for a team with some of the best shooters the NBA has ever seen. The Warriors turned the ball over 12 times by the end of the third quarter, and Stephen Curry had five fouls, which makes him have to play conservatively on defense, and once he is out of the game, the offense is a lot worse. The Grizzlies led the Warriors after three quarters with a score of 88-71.
In the final quarter of the game, the Warriors outscored the Grizzlies 30-23, but the Grizzlies benefitted from some poor officiating. In the fourth quarter, Stephen Curry continued to be the best player from Golden State, finishing the game with 37 points, 6 rebounds, and three assists. Kevin Durant also got hot down the stretch, and ended up with 29 points and 13 rebounds. While the team did heat up down the stretch, they were still held under 40% shooting, and turned the ball over 17 times. The Grizzlies were led by a strong game from Marc Gasol who had 34 points and 14 rebounds. The Warriors lost the game with a final score of 111-101.
The Memphis Grizzlies are the team that the Warriors struggle with the most year in and year out, and last year they dropped two games to the Grizzlies. The trend continued this year thanks to particularly poor performances from Klay Thompson, who went 5-16 with a total of 14 points, and Draymond Green, who finished with 3 points, but went 0-5 from three-point range. Another issue with the way the Warriors played tonight was their newfound love of sending their opponents to the free throw line. The Grizzlies shot 37 free throws and made 29 of them. Stephen Curry was the primary instigator of the foul trouble tonight, as he committed five fouls, but the referees definitely did have a quick whistle all night, especially when Memphis had the ball. Stephen Curry was very fed up with how the game was being officiated, especially late in the fourth quarter when Marc Gasol and Mike Conley were getting MVP level calls, and the Warriors could not seem to get a call to go their way. In the last minute of the game, Stephen Curry looked determined to get his team back in the game, but he was ejected after throwing his mouthpiece in the direction of an official after he did not receive a foul call on a layup. Kevin Durant was also ejected at the same time because he was arguing and standing up for Steph. Overall, the Warriors should have lost this game because they played poorly, but the quick whistle of the referees was an unnecessary factor.
Stephen Curry ended the game with 37 points on 9-17 shooting, and was the only Warriors player that seemed like he was truly locked in. Kevin Durant did finish with 29, but he did go 11-24 from the field. Durant did add three to his block total on his quest to win DPOY, bringing his total to 14 in three games. I think that in the long run, it is probably good to lose these games early in the year, and have the team figure out how to deal with adversity early on. I also think that it’s ridiculous how the only Unanimous MVP in NBA history doesn’t get the same touch fouls called in his favor that Marc Gasol and Mike Conley get.
The Warriors play their next game on Monday, October 23 in Dallas against the Mavericks at 5:30 p.m.