The Memphis Grizzlies came in to Thursday nights matchup against an unbeaten Golden State Warriors squad that looked unbeatable. With Memphis having so many questions on both ends of the floor, would those questions be answered in San Francisco against the Warriors?
The Memphis Grizzlies have struggled defensively through their first four games. Golden State took advantage of that in the first quarter. Beating Memphis in all facets of the NBA game throughout the first quarter. Cutting, screening, playing Warriors basketball would expose Memphis’ early season flaws. Jaren Jackson Jr. collected two early fouls, sticking him to the bench. The Warriors led Memphis 39-22 after one.
A rough first quarter from Memphis was forgotten thanks in part to the Grizzlies bench unit — with Jaren Jackson Jr., and Desmond Bane. Memphis’ bench unit cut the Warriors down to as much as five midway through second quarter. Once Steph Curry and company re-entered, the Warriors stretched their lead out once again.
Given how things transpired in the first half, trailing 55-45 to the Warriors somehow didn’t feel like a loss. I mentioned Jaren Jackson’s early struggles, but he recovered well. Running the five with the bench unit in the second quarter, he played a huge role in Memphis getting back within striking distance. Steven Adams led Memphis with 12 points, and six rebounds.
The Grizzlies brought better energy into the third quarter. Trailing by 10, the Grizzlies talked better defensively when switching. More importantly, Memphis took better care of their offensive possessions. Outscoring Golden State 28-24 in the third quarter, a quarter in which Ja Morant would drop 12 third quarter points. Memphis trailed Golden State 79-73 heading to the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies were able to claw their way back into the game in the fourth quarter. Their persistence finally started to wear on the Golden Sate Warriors. Tying the game at 86 apiece, Memphis and Golden State had a thriller ending in sight. In the closing minute, tied at 98, neither Memphis or Golden State could push ahead. Grizzlies and Warriors were heading to overtime.
The Grizzlies and Warriors were in an epic Western Conference slug fest heading to overtime. Both teams were exhausted, and it felt like January 2017 all over again. The Grizzlies would complete the 19 point comeback, and hand the Warriors their first loss of the regular season. Memphis would take down Golden State in overtime 104-101.
Ja Morant - 30 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 11/22 FG
Desmond Bane - 19 points, 7/16 FG
De’Anthony Melton - 7 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks
The Grizzlies return home to FedEx Forum on Saturday night to take on the Miami Heat.