The Memphis Grizzlies kept their postseason hopes alive Wednesday night with a dominant victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 at FedExForum as they exited with a 134-95 victory. The Memphis received contributions from both the top and bottom of their roster as seven players finished winning after scoring in double digits.
With the victory, the Grizzlies avoid elimination and now force a Game 6 in San Francisco to line up for a Game 7 game in Memphis, if they win in California on Friday. Here are the three main points of the game 5.
1. Not the worst blast in match history.
Golden State knocked itself out of the history books 28-15 in the fourth quarter, but before that, this match had a chance to be historic. The biggest explosion in supplement history was the 2009 Denver Nuggets’ 58-point win over the then New Orleans Hornets. The Grizzlies led by 55 in the third quarter. If they had paid for it, they might have won 60 or 70. We know for a fact that they can. They won their regular season game by 73 games over Thunder in December.
Let’s focus on the competitive part of the game, which was the first three quarters. At that point, the Grizzlies had advanced so many points that even if you cleared all of their thirteen throws after three quarters, they would still have a one-point lead 68-67. They won the third quarter by an unreasonable 25-point margin. It took them a little more than half to top off a total of 98 points from Game Four. This might not be the worst playoff loss in NBA history, but it’s not far off either.
2. Ball control masterpiece
Shooting got out of hand in the second half, but if you look at the percentages in the first half, you’ll see a relatively close match. The Warriors scored 47.4 percent of their field goals in the first half. The Grizzlies took 50.9 percent of their stake. The Warriors made 39.1 percent of the first half of the 3-s. The Grizzlies held 44.4 percent of their stakes. Even Golden State shot a higher percentage of the streak. Usually, you’ll see these numbers and expect a game relatively close. As we know, this game was not even close. why? Well, in the first half…
- The Grizzlies had 10 more offensive rebounds than the Warriors.
- The Warriors had 11 more spins than the Grizzlies.
- As a result of these two factors, the Grizzlies attempted 18 more field goals than Warriors.
It turns out that it is very difficult to win a game of basketball when you do not own the basketball at all. To some extent, this was expected. The Grizzlies have been the best offensive rebound team in the NBA by a mile this season. The Golden State move and heavy attack turn into the equation on the grounds that Warriors make it by having a cleaner look on all of their other properties. But numbers like these are something else entirely.
Getting Stephen Adams back into the spin has clearly made a difference, and the Warriors, without shooting a big guy, don’t punish him defensively in the same way that Minnesota can. But some of the problems here were just a lethargic basketball night from the Warriors who likely expected a win over an exhausted opponent. Now they’ll have to play Game 6 without Gary Payton II and possibly Otto Porter Jr. Knowing that the loss would force them to play Game 7 on the road to decide the fate of their season. These are areas where the Warriors should lose, but there is no excuse for the beating they took on Wednesday.
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3. Care in the controls
Would you believe me if I told you that interim Warriors coach Mike Brown had a 12-1 record for filling Steve Kerr even after that disaster? That’s right, the soon-to-be Sacramento Kings coach undefeated Kerr’s record 11-0 during the 2017 playoffs. He took Game 4 for a 12th win. Finally, in Game 5, he took his first loss, but boy, he was ugly.
His Game 4 win wasn’t something to write home about either. It wouldn’t take a double-digit return to beat an opponent without the best player on your home ground. But that’s the kind of basketball the Warriors have played in the past two games. Sloppy, unfocused and lazy. Stephen Curry saved them from Game 4 because it’s Stephen Curry. He can do that from time to time. Nothing can save them from the doom of Game 5.
Was that loss to come with Kerr at the helm? probably. No coach is worth 40 points in a single game. But the Warriors haven’t looked like the Warriors since their coach contracted COVID-19. Getting him back on the bench as soon as possible is crucial here. They’re already missing Payton and possibly Porter. Being without their coach makes things even more difficult.
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