Memphis came into the game having won two of their last three games (that’s almost a win streak right?), while the Warriors were celebrating the return of Steph Curry after an 11 game absence.
Memphis started the first quarter missing their first three shots and fell into a quick 10-2 deficit. Andrew Harrison hit a big three and Marc Gasol scored 8 straight for Memphis, who was trying to hang tough with Golden State despite the Warrior’s usual barrage of three-pointers.
Halfway through the first Gasol had 15 points and defense wasn’t exactly evident for either team. Then it was Kobi time. Kobi quickly stole a pass, something he has been doing with regularity so far, but then he quickly exploded. The rookie from Arizona scored 10 straight points for Memphis, who closed the quarter down 38-40 to the Warriors.
After such a high-scoring first quarter, most would expect much of the same in the second quarter, which is exactly what happened. Swaggy P opened up the scoring for Golden State, while Jarell Martin hit a jumper for Memphis.
This is when things started to get crazy. Draymond Green turned the ball over on the inbound, then fouled Deyonta Davis. Green didn’t like the call and got a technical foul for arguing with the ref. Memphis hit all three ensuing free throws to take their first lead 43-42. Green committed another foul, once again on DD and got a second technical, ejecting him from the game. Kobi Simmons continued his strong play in the first half, hitting a three to give him 13 points.
David West then restored Golden State’s lead 52-50 with a vicious dunk with just over seven minutes in the quarter. It was a back-and-forth contest until Curry re-entered the game and caught fire, as the Warrior’s offensive barrage started to become too much for the Grizz to overcome and at the half Golden State led 78-67.
On a positive note, the 67 points is the most Memphis has scored in the first half this year and Kobi Simmons had already set a career high in points with 13.
If Simmons keeps this up he won't be a two-way guy by the end of the year.— Kevin Lipe (@FlyerGrizBlog) December 31, 2017
The third quarter was much of the same for both sides, Memphis continued to score at an efficient clip, but they just couldn’t keep up with the Warriors, more specifically, Curry. Steph already had 26 points while hitting 6 of 8 of his threes early on.
Memphis did their best to stay in the game, JaMychal Green did a lot of work down low and Reke was his usual brilliant self as Memphis continued to look good on offense. Unfortunately offense was never the Grizzlies’ issue tonight. The Warriors continued to pull away in the second half despite a fairly quiet night for Kevin Durant and an inefficient night from Klay Thompson. At the end of the third the Grizz were down 116-98 and Curry had 35 points shooting 9 of 12 from downtown.
Entering the fourth quarter, Memphis had hit 12 of 18 threes, but found themselves down by 18. The Grizzlies had an offensive output for the ages, but just couldn’t get the stops they needed to slow down the machine that is Golden State. In almost any other game, scoring 128 would beat just about anyone, but as we all know, you can play your best game of the year against the Warriors and it still might not be enough. Memphis fell 141-128.
A few final thoughts:
Kobi Simmons looked amazing. Ever since Memphis called him up from the Hustle he’s had good moments, but he put together a complete game with 17 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. I look forward to seeing how much he can develop for the Grizzlies.
Marc Gasol answered the call early for Memphis, halfway through the third he had 27 points on 10 of 13 shooting, although he didn’t score again after. It would have been interesting to see how Memphis would have finished if Gasol continued to get the ball like he had been.
It was nice to see Ivan Rabb get some garbage time when the game was out of hand late in the fourth. He scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in two and a half minutes of playing time. If Memphis’ season continues to spiral, it would be good to see Rabb get more playing time so that Memphis can figure out what they have in him.