The stands were packed Friday night in a sellout showdown at FedExForum, but many fans were wearing the wrong shade of blue and yellow.
It was the best team in the West, facing a Grizzlies team that had snatched two wins against them this season. In the last one, Memphis had clawed back from a deep deficit to defeat the Warriors in overtime...So you knew coming into this one the Warriors wouldn’t overlook Memphis.
The Grizzlies came in to last night riding on a three game winning streak, and they led the season series against the Golden State Warriors 2-0. On the other side, the Warriors were headed into a weekend facing the Grizzlies and then the OKC Thunder Saturday night. Some wondered if the Warriors might look ahead to Kevin Durant’s homecoming at OKC, but instead they came out the gate ready to play. Klay Thompson had their first 11 points, and the Grizzlies fell behind early.
At the end of the quarter, Memphis trailed 29-22 after previously cutting the deficit to 3. During the second stanza, the Grizzlies made several runs but were never able to tie up the game, as the Warriors punished the Grizzlies for lackadaisical defense and took advantage of every opportunity on offense. The Grizzlies fouled two three point shots in the first half, and they had 14 turnovers. In addition, the Warriors had 9 steals to the Grizzlies’ 1. Thompson had 18 points at the half, and Zach Randolph had 10. In the second quarter, the Warriors continued to shoot hot from three and had 8 threes at halftime.
Overall, the Grizzlies just played awful defense in the first half, so even when their offense got going, they couldn’t catch up.
In the third quarter, the story stayed much the same. While there was a glimmer of hope at the beginning of the period, the Warriors regained a solid lead. After a couple controversial calls from the refs, Coach David Fizdale argued with the officials and was ejected from the game. From there, things went downhill, and the Grizzlies found themselves buried in a 23 point deficit, and going into the fourth the score was 98-77.
The Warriors quickly hit the 100 mark in the fourth and continued their solid play on both ends of the floor. Although the Grizzlies cut the deficit to 14 with 4 minutes remaining, they were unable to make a miraculous comeback. The Warriors cruised through this one and defeated the Grizzlies, 122-107. For Memphis, Marc Gasol ended up with 17 points, and Mike Conley had 20. The whole starting lineup had a negative plus-minus rating besides James Ennis, who only had a rating of +1.
In the end, the Warriors looked like the better team last night. Everyone on Golden State helped contribute to this one, including Draymond Green, who for the first time in NBA history had a triple double without having over 10 points. He had 4 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals, and 5 blocks.
"He's unbelievable, he's a unique player... He's an everything man," -Mike Conley on Draymond Green— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 11, 2017
On one hand, this loss wasn’t surprising. It would’ve been pretty crazy to see the Grizzlies go up 3-0 on the season series against the Warriors. After all, it’s the best team in the Western Conference. But after the previous two matches, anything felt possible.
Last night felt like the Warriors were reasserting their dominance and taking a stance after the first blowout loss and the second crazy comeback loss that Memphis had given them. The Grizzlies looked one step slower in almost every aspect, and while the Warriors came to play, it looked like the Grizzlies didn’t.
Klay Thompson Revenge Game
Against the Grizzlies, Klay Thompson had been contained the first two showings. In the first, he had 8 points, and he had 17 in the second. However, he was 13-23 from the field last night for 36 points, including 8 threes. He had a plus-minus rating of +18, and he had his team’s first 11 points of the game.
From the start of last night’s match, Thompson played very differently from the previous two showings. It seemed no one could guard him, and he took advantage of the open threes the Grizzlies were allowing him to have.
In the first showing against Memphis, he shot 28.6% and he shot 41.2%, in the second. He shot an impressive 56.5% last night. Undoubtedly, containing Klay Thompson in the previous two matches greatly affected Memphis’ success. By allowing Thompson to get going early on last night, the Grizzlies really hurt their chances from the start.
Klay Thompson definitely had a revenge game against Memphis Friday night. It seemed he was tired of getting shut down and finally did something about it. Klay came out firing, and the Grizzlies appeared powerless against him.
Perhaps the most abysmal stat for the Grizzlies last night was their turnovers. On the night as a team, the Grizzlies had 18 of them, while the Warriors had 12. All night, turnovers hurt Memphis. The Warriors racked up 14 steals, and the Grizzlies only had 6.
The Grizzlies were unfocused on offense and didn’t take care of the ball, allowing the Warriors easy fastbreak points. In fact, the Warriors had 30 fastbreak points to Memphis’ 13.
Although the Warriors made 6 more threes than the Grizzlies did as a team, the turnovers hurt Memphis the most. Draymond Green by himself had 10 steals.
The Grizzlies simply weren’t aggressive enough on defense and were careless on offense. Having Chandler Parsons (who rested last night) on offense would’ve helped in that department, but the Grizzlies still shouldn’t have let the Warriors dominate that category so easily. It seemed the Grizzlies were unable to defend the Warriors’ pick-and-roll offense, and it showed when Golden State players were time and time again wide open to knock down a three pointer.
"We didn't come out with the right mentality," -Mike Conley— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 11, 2017
Silver Lining: Zach Randolph Shines
For the Grizzlies, Zach Randolph was definitely the best offensive player of the night. He had 17 points and 13 rebounds. He was 5-9 from the field and 7-9 from the free throw line.
When the Grizzlies looked downtrodden last night, Z-Bo kept plowing through and seemed to never truly give up. His surge this season is pretty remarkable as he’s been moved to the sixth man role. He’s gladly accepted coming off the bench and is definitely the star of the second unit.
Some might argue he should be moved to the starting position, but I like him coming off the bench and closing out the games. JaMychal Green has fit well in his starting role, but I still like to see Randolph closing out the game beside Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, and Mike Conley.
Zach Randolph in many ways embodies Memphis. His gritty mentality on offense is awesome to watch on a nightly basis. It was just another example last night at how, even when the game turned sour, he kept giving his full effort and producing on offense. So Z-Bo’s performance off the bench was a silver lining of last night’s deflating loss.
Now, the Grizzlies will look to bounce back Monday night at home against the Brooklyn Nets, who just lost their twelfth game in a row.
"You definitely have to stay mentally prepared for a game like this," -Tony Allen in reference to upcoming Monday's game against Brooklyn.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 11, 2017
"I wasn't going after my money's worth, I just didn't agree with the course of the game for a stretch there," -Coach Fizdale on his ejection— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 11, 2017
"We had a couple guys literally not cross half court to get back on defense," -Fizdale on Memphis' lackadaisical stretches.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) February 11, 2017