Warriors score against Grizzlies, put forward: Memphis maintains hopes of playoffs with Game 5 victory over Golden State

The Memphis Grizzlies retained their post-season hopes on Wednesday night with their dominant win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the FedExForum when they came away with a 134-95 win. Memphis received contributions from the top and bottom of their roster as seven players finished the win by scoring double-digit goals.

With the win, the Grizzlies are avoiding elimination and are now forcing Game 6 in San Francisco to potentially make a “do or die” game of Game 7 in Memphis if they win in California this Friday. These are the three primary concepts from Game 5.

1. Not exactly the worst exhaust in playoff history.

Golden State dropped out of history books 28-15 in the fourth quarter, but before that this game had a chance to be historic. The biggest blow in the history of the playoffs was the Denver Nuggets ’2009 victory of 58 points over the then New Orleans Hornets. The Grizzlies led 55 in the third quarter. If they had advocated for it, they might have won by 60 or 70. We know for sure they can. They won the regular season with a score of 73 over Thunder in December.

Let’s focus on the competitive part of the game, and those were the first three quarters. At the time, the Grizzlies were leading by so many points that even if you took away all 17 threes after three quarters, they would still have a one-point advantage of 68-67. They won the third quarter with an absurd 25 points difference. It took them a little more than half to surpass their total score of 98 points from the fourth game. This may not be the worst playoff loss in NBA league history, but it’s not far off.

2. A masterpiece of ball control

The shooting got out of control in the second half, but if you looked at the percentages in the first half, you would see a relatively tight game. The Warriors scored 47.4 percent of goals in the first half. The Grizzlies made 50.9 percent of theirs. The Warriors scored 39.1 percent of their threes in the first half. The Grizzlies made 44.4 percent of their own. Golden State shot even higher from the line. You would usually see those numbers and expect a relatively close game. As we know, this match was not close. Why? Well in the first half…

  • The Grizzlies had 10 offensive rebounds more than the Warriors.
  • The Warriors had 11 turnovers more than the Grizzlies.
  • As a result of these two factors, the Grizzlies attempted 18 more goals from the game than the Warriors.

It turns out to be pretty hard to win a basketball game when you never really have basketball. To some extent, this was to be expected. The Grizzlies were the NBA’s best offensive team in the one-mile jump this season. Golden State’s movement and heavy attack throw twists into the equation with the realization that the Warriors are making up for them by getting a cleaner look on their other property. But such numbers are something else entirely.

The return of Steven Adams to the rotation seems to have made a difference, and the Warriors, without shooting the big man, aren’t punishing him defensively in the same way Minnesota could. But some of the problems here were just the lethargic basketball night of the Warriors who were probably expecting a win over an exhausted opponent. He will now have to play Game 6, with Gary Payton II and perhaps Otto Porter Jr. they don’t know that defeat will force them to play their 7th away game to determine the fate of their season. These are areas where the Warriors should lose, but there is no excuse for the beatings they received on Wednesday.

3. Kerr for commands

Would you believe me to tell you that Warriors interim coach Mike Brown has a 12-1 record that replaces Steve Kerr even after that debacle? That’s right, the future Sacramento Kings coach remained undefeated with a 11-0 record for Kerr during the 2017 playoffs. He took the 4th game to win number 12. Finally, in the 5th game, he suffered his first defeat, but, boy, was that ugly.

There was nothing to write about his victory in the 4th game either. There shouldn’t be a double-digit comeback to beat an opponent without the best player on your floor. But it’s the kind of basketball the Warriors have played in the last two games. Messy, unfocused and lazy. Stephen Curry pulled them out of the fourth game because he is Stephen Curry. He can do it from time to time. Nothing could save them from decimation in Game 5.

Would that loss come with Kerr at the helm? Probably. No coach is worth 40 points in one game. But the Warriors haven’t looked like Warriors since their coach got COVID-19. The most important thing here is to get him back on the bench as soon as possible. They already miss Payton, and maybe Porter. Being without their coach only makes things harder.

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