Grizzlies Grades: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Grizzlies 93 - Warriors 100

STARTERS

Zach Randolph : (C+) 35 MIN | 21 PTS | 10-16 FG | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | -11

Having David Lee sidelined this game was a bit of a blessing in disguise for the Warriors. Although Speights and Green were no match against Randolph's offense, it was just as much of a mismatch defensively for Zbo. The Warriors identified that Zbo needed to be attacked from outside the paint and executed it to perfection throughout the contest, especially during the 4th quarter. Two Draymond Green threes and several screen-plays by Curry where Zach was late to rotate really punched a massive hole on the Grizzlies defense. With the defense unable to stop Curry and the Warriors, Zach had to take advantage of his matchup against Green on offense, but he was surprisingly passive and hardly touched the ball during crunch time. Zbo should have demanded ball in order to settle the Grizzlies while the pressure was mounting, that did not happen.

Tayshaun Prince : (C+) 22 MIN | 7 PTS | 3-4 FG | 1 REB | 2 AST | -8

Was able to keep both Iguodala and Barnes in check throughout the game, made his share of field goals but was disappointing from the FT line. The Warriors used Thompson to post-up Conley early and often, which created plenty of opportunities for himself and his Warrior teammates. If Prince's identity in the starting lineup is his defense, it would have been good to try and shut down that post-game by having him check Thompson. The Grizzlies need Prince matched up against the most aggressive perimeter player on the court in order to get full value out of Tayshaun.

Marc Gasol : (C+) 37 MIN | 17 PTS | 7-16 FG | 7 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | -9

With Bogut injured early, you would expect Gasol to have an absolute field day against the likes of O'Neal and Green, however he stuck with too many outside shots which played right into the hands of the Warriors. Gasol and Randolph were also completely outworked by the Warriors' rag-tag team of rebounders, securing a huge advantage over the Grizzlies. During crunch time Gasol was surprisingly disengaged, getting pushed out of his spots and had trouble creating anything on offense while the Grizzlies defense unravelled on the other end. A very disappointing loss where Gasol probably could have attacked the basket a lot more.

Mike Conley : (C+) 35 MIN | 20 PTS | 8-17 FG | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 TO | -11

Had to work extremely hard on the defensive end as he was often posted-up by Thompson, while getting screened a thousand times guarding Curry. Not much more he could have done against Curry's hot hand, while he was converting his own opportunities well on the offensive end. After his long bombs that got the Grizzlies a 7 point lead with only 3 minutes left in the game, he made the fatal mistake of trying to nurse that lead, hoping the Warriors would just fade away as the Griz could simply back into the win. The reality is that good NBA teams will always fight, especially in front of a raucous home crowd. During crunch time Conley milked way too much time off the shot clock before settling into their offensive possessions, resulting in poor quality long range shots and turnovers that were simply inexcusable in terms of crunch time execution. By not putting the ball into Randolph's hands every possession, The Grizzlies simply did not take advantage of their biggest mismatch on the court. In the end this game was lost in a brutally similar way to last week's game against the Heat.

Courtney Lee : (B+) 26 MIN | 11 PTS | 5-7 FG | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | -9

Realising that the Grizzlies will need to make Curry work on defense, Lee shook off his recent slump in a big way by attacking the basket repeatedly while also heating up from mid range. Probably should have played more during the 4th over Miller as he was more capable of creating his own shot, but it was the same lineup that got the Grizzlies into a position to win, so there were no reason to make too many crunch time adjustments.

BENCH

Tony Allen : (C) 24 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-7 FG | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | +0

His recent struggles to finish plays has definitely affected the level of success of the Grizzlies, as opponents won't see TA as a threat on offense if he isn't finishing with high efficiency. He's got to realise that he is athletic enough to pick up his dribble closer to the basket so he can release his shots high above the rim and play to his strengths. The Grindfather's world-class disruptive defense was on full display last night, but also quite puzzling on why he wasn't guarding Curry during crunch time. The result might not have mattered but TA would have the ability to fight through screens a lot better, he could have at least made Curry work harder for his shot. Putting your best defender on the guy that you know will get the majority of the shots shouldn't really be rocket science should it?

Nick Calathes : (A-) 13 MIN | 7 PTS | 3-6 FG | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 TO | +4

Even in shortened playing time, a blown offensive-foul call at the end of the 3rd quarter was the only blip that prevented Calathes from a truly special night. He was an absolute bulldog that played with total determination, driving to the basket with intent while frustrating the Warriors with his quick hands on defense. The best defenders in the league always position themselves perfectly at all the right times, Calathes is slowly but surely developing into that type of player.

Mike Miller : (C) 25 MIN | 0 PTS | 0-1 FG | 2 REB | 4 AST | +1

A key in the Grizzlies recent success has been Mike Miler's play. If he is firing on all cylinders, the Grizzlies tend to win while if you can keep him quiet, the Grizzlies offense aren't anywhere near as potent. Taking only one shot in 25 minutes is Tayshaun-Prince-kind of territory and we all know Mike has to take shots in order to impact the game. He might have been hesitant to shoot since the Grizzlies had such an advantage offensively up front, but more shots were definitely required in order to help his big men create more room to operate.

Kosta Koufos : (B+) 8 MIN | 6 PTS | 3-3 FG | 1 STL | 1 BLK | +1

Had JJ take his minutes in the 2nd half, which was puzzling as having both of them on the court could have helped with their rebounding issue this game. While on the court Kosta showed his array of offensive and defensive skills as he came out on top with his mini-battle against O'Neal.

James Johnson : (B-) 10 MIN | 2 PTS | 1-2 FG | 1 AST | 1 TO | +8

Was put into the game to counter Curry's high ball-screens as JJ is athletic enough to stay with the Warrior guards on switches. Played defense with accountability and had a positive impact in general. However his limited shooting range is causing him to be unsure of how to fit into the Grizzlies offensive schemes.

Jon Leuer : (C) 6 MIN | 0 PTS | 0-2 FG | 3 REB | -1

Leuer was also a player that Joerger could have used to try and stem the tide on the rebounding battle, as the Warriors were pounding the glass with their athleticism and gang-rebounding mentality. Leuer's usual effort alone could have helped to secure a few more boards. A 11-man rotation this game definitely affected our bench's rhythm as they were outscored 17-33. Less will be more going forward so Leuer might end up being the odd-man out.

OPPONENT

Golden State Warriors : (B+)

This is the first game in a while that the Grizzlies weren't able to force their opponent into playing their slow, grind-it-out type of style. Credit the Warriors for identifying the need get out quickly in transition, and to make the Grizzlies big men uncomfortable by asking them to come out and guard the hot shooting Speights and Green. Ultimately, the Warriors were able to get hot at all the right moments, and winning the rebounding battle by a wide margin without their two best rebounders is a testament of how desperate they wanted to retain their Playoffs seeding. By having the easiest schedule out of the five teaming vying for the final four Playoff spots, they are now in prime position to overtake the recently slumping Blazers.

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