You can blame the tired legs, or you can point to the pristine 13-0 record Memphis has against opponents playing on the back end of a back-to-back, but excuses don’t make losses okay. 14 turnovers for the Warriors against five for the Grizzlies, and 29% shooting from downtown were the biggest reasons for this loss. During the third quarter, especially, after going up 10 Golden State turned the ball over three out of four possessions with each leading to points on the other end.
The Warrior bench played admirably tonight, scoring 38 while giving the starters much needed rest. They played extensively, and effectively, during the second quarter, so I was surprised to see Smart wait until the fourth to sub the bench in. This was a night where bench production was sorely needed and they brought it. It’s just a shame coach didn’t switch it up when things were going south.
The game was out reach by the 42-minute mark, which was a far cry from the competitive game we saw just 12 minutes before. The Warriors were definitely outhustled, but they relied too much on their outside shot to bail them out. Curry was the only one who really had the mindset to attack and he was rewarded with a 2-14 night and only one free throw. Loved the effort and mentality, but the refs were strangely silent tonight.
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1st Star: Monta Ellis
Steady, but unspectacular night for Monta. I really expected him to come out seeking redemption for his 9-30 shooting from the previous night. Maybe fatigue got to Monta too, but the man hardly ever seems tired. Maybe it’s a front, but I’ve literally never seen Monta look like he’s run out of steam. 16 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and a block. Like I said, steady but unspectacular.
2nd Star: Dorell Wright
He was 1-6 from three, but he shot well otherwise, 6-9 from the rest of the field. He brought the help defense with three blocks and had zero miscues. 16 points and not much else.
3rd Star: David Lee
12 points and nine rebounds for Lee who I felt, as I usually do, should’ve been looking for his shot more. He’s not the best playmaker on the team, but he makes good decisions with the ball. I’d like to see him work more out of the post. While he doesn’t have an excess of post moves, he can slip past bigger, slower defenders and he finishes well with both hands. Really an underrated scorer around the basket.
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Stephen Curry: He looked like a player on his last leg, and he was still determined to get to the rim. I liked it, but part of me thinks he overexerted himself to the point where it cost him his shot. Only one other game this season did he shoot worse, 2-15, but that was his first game back after his ankle injury.
Jeremy Lin: He’s hesitant at times with the ball in his hands, almost like Udoh, but, like Udoh, he’ll improve on that. It’s nice to see some restraint from rookies still learning the game because it’s easier to inspire confidence and aggressiveness in a player than to tell them to pull it back. He had four fouls in only 17 minutes, but it mostly meant he didn’t give up defensively. Fouls, especially touch fouls, are never a good thing, but any good defensive player will inevitably incur a few. Monta had zero fouls tonight. How convenient.
Ekpe Udoh: Not much from him tonight. He’s been good for 2-3 blocks a night and this is only his second start in which he didn’t register a single one.
Tony Allen: Interesting to see him bring it on both ends of the floor which may be more of a knock against Ellis than a testament of Allen’s offensive prowess. With his physical style of play he finishes well around the hoop, but he’s still a terrible shooter. Perhaps Conley and Randolph were more of focus defensively, but the Warriors had to have known to give him the Rondo treatment. 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block feels like an injustice to his presence on the court.
Darrell Arthur: He can shoot now. What?
Marc Gasol: I hardly noticed he played at all, much less 26 minutes. It seems like he just loafed around the paint. Father would not be proud.
The More You Know: Curry has now registered his third consecutive five-turnover game, a first in his career. A slightly worrying sign for those believing he’s the point man of the future. Aside from the occasional lazy pass, he’s also a risk-taker. There’s a fine line between taking risks and calculated risks. The only way to truly learn is to keep on passing, so the Bay Area faithful will need to stretch their patience further.
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With two days off before the Mavericks come to Oracle, the Warriors should be fresh enough to give a complete effort Saturday night. Dallas is a familiar opponent, having played them twice in the last two weeks, so preparation will, or should, be a huge focus. Making the proper adjustments and devising proper counter-attacks for their game plan will rest on the staff’s shoulders. Obviously, the players will be the ones executing the plan, so it’ll be an important test to see if they’ve grown in that respect come tip-off. Should be competitive, 107-104.