Tonight’s game in Memphis had a big fight feel as the Grizzlies took on the Golden State Warriors. Golden State surely had revenge on their mind after dropping their first two match-ups, and Memphis, without Chandler Parsons, had to depend on their bench perimeter players to contribute in slightly different ways than normal. With many Golden State fans in FedExForum, it would be on the Grizzlies to silence the residents of Warriors world early.
Memphis started the game slowly, not quite executing on either end of the floor. A large portion of that can be attributed to the play of the Warriors, who were ready to play from the start of the contest. Despite seven first quarter turnovers, and a dominant scoring period by Klay Thompson, the Warriors were only beating Memphis by seven at the end of the first.
Andre Iguodala paced the Warriors for much of the second quarter, hitting big threes and facilitating offense. He would officially end the game with a season high 22 points. Golden State was just more crisp than Memphis- ball movement was faster, defensive rotations were more decisive. While Marc Gasol struggled (1-7 shooting, 3 turnovers in the first half), Mike Conley rose up to lead the Grizzlies and cut the lead down to five. But a foul of Iggy on a three point shot led to seven straight points for Golden State and the Warriors took a 13-point lead in to the half despite Kevin Durant only shooting 1-6 from the field for the half.
The second half began with both teams exchanging baskets. Gasol and Conley made shots started things off well for Memphis, but Kevin Durant starting to find his stroke kept the lead at double digits for Golden State. Then, the wheels fell off for Memphis. Poor officiating got to Memphis, as a questionable foul call against Marc Gasol on one end and another questionable call, this time a lack of a foul on Mike Conley, led to Head Coach David Fizdale getting ejected and the Warriors getting the lead to 17. It only continued to get worse as Memphis could not keep up with the offensive efficiency of Golden State, who shot 12-19 in the period.
Klay Thompson had 28 points through three quarters and the Warriors held a 98-77 lead heading in to the fourth quarter.
The game’s final frame was essential garbage time. The Warriors continued to play through each other (31 assists on 39 made baskets) and the Grizzlies continued to struggle to keep up. Klay Thompson finished with 36 points, Draymond Green had a triple double without the points (12 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals), the Warriors forced 18 Grizzlies turnovers, and Golden State beat Memphis 122-107.
Ready for some good news, Grizzlies fans? Memphis is still 2-1 over Golden State for the season (they next see the Warriors on March 26th). The Grizzlies are still firmly in the playoff picture out west, with the potential to get to the four seed. The next two games for Memphis are very winnable and the Grizzlies can go in to the All-Star Break with a 12-games above .500 record. And Memphis has still won six of their last eight games.
Golden State is damn good. Memphis was not up for the challenge tonight. Tip your cap and move on to the next one...which will be Monday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.