Reactions: Grizzlies 104-Warriors 94
|David Lee, PF 35 MIN | 8-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | -1
Lee deserves kudos for curbing his black-hole tendencies on offense and committing to more of an opportunistic role as a scorer. He flashed a somewhat reliable midrange jumper and finished as roll man and cutter on occasion, generally playing within the flow of the offense. After his play in Wednesday’s win over Phoenix that’s certainly a step in the right direction. Now only if his individual and team defense could come around.
|Harrison Barnes, SF 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -11
The rookie got off to a fantastic start against Memphis, thwarting a Rudy Gay postup with tough defense then streaking down the floor for a layup on the game’s opening possession. The rest of Barnes’ night, though, was forgettable. He continued to look lost in Golden State’s offense, rarely looking at the basket or making himself a threat. A player with this much supposed natural skill needs to be much, much better on that end. Barnes competed hard defensively against Gay, but lost him backdoor several times and was perhaps too aggressive for the most part. An injured Brandon Rush or not, the Warriors need more than this from their first round pick.
|Andrew Bogut, C 18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -16
Still playing on a strictly enforced minutes allocation, Bogut flashed the skill and knack that make him such a force on both ends as well as the rust that comes with missing almost all of training camp. The Warriors made it a point to give him post touches early, and Bogut capitalized one one of two opportunities in the game’s opening possessions. Shortly thereafter, we saw a glimpse of what could be when Bogut blocked Marc Gasol at the rim, rose to his feet, and rotated back in time to take a charge. He made a couple nifty passes to teammates, too, despite a mostly nondescript offensive performance. Gasol bullied Bogut from time to time, though, and Golden State’s most effective lineups were with him on the bench.
|Stephen Curry, SG 43 MIN | 10-20 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 26 PTS | -7
Curry made up for lost time tonight after a dismal shooting performance on Wednesday in Phoenix, almost single-handedly willing the Warriors back from an early 15 point deficit. He hit six three-pointers, several stepback jumpers, and mixed in a floater or two to boot. Troublingly, the vast majority of Curry’s production came as he worked off the ball running around baseline screens and coming off of pin-downs. Not exactly what you want to see from your $44 million point guard. Still, he worked well in the pick and roll all night long, several times executing perfect pocket passes to the roll man for easy buckets. This was an encouraging performance for sure, but one can’t help but wish it came with Curry playing his specified position.
|Klay Thompson, SG 38 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | -5
Thompson got off to a nice start against Memphis, hitting multiple early jumpers curling off screens and a corner three-pointer. His teammates forgot about him from thereafter, though, and it no doubt contributed to the Warriors offensive struggles. When Thompson had opportunities he mostly made the most of them; the next step is creating them when others are unable or unwilling. He has the feel, handle, and athleticism to do so – as evidenced by a smooth, gliding scoop layup around Gasol in the third quarter – and should get better there as the season progresses. Assigned with checking Gay after Rush’s injury and Barnes’ ineffectiveness, Thompson performed admirably. He’s hardly a stopper on that end and probably never will be, but tonight showed he can hold his own in spurts against the league’s better wings.
|Carl Landry, PF 24 MIN | 5-10 FG | 10-12 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +12
Landry continued his strong, deliberate play from Wednesday after a dismal start against Memphis. In the fourth quarter with the game slipping away, he scored on multiple possession to keep the Warriors within striking distance. His tunnel vision in the post continues to frustrate, but Landry is an undoubtedly effective interior scorer and a menace – if undersized one – on the glass. He’ll be a nice coup off the bench all season long.
|Festus Ezeli, C 13 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -4
Ezeli continued to show the rebounding prowess that promises to make him a staple of this organization long term plans. He even hit an open mid-range jumper against Memphis, but struggled to finish even the easiest shots on the whole. Regardless, this was another step in the right direction and should ease Golden State’s concerns when/if Bogut misses additional time. With the Aussie slated to miss tomorrow second end of a back-to-back, it will be interesting to see how Ezeli does with extended playing time.
|Jarrett Jack, PG 27 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 5 PTS | +1
If Curry was the train that drove Golden State’s second quarter run, Jack was its engineer. The Warriors struggled mightily on offense until Jack subbed in, and his patience and understanding running the show with Curry playing off the ball was huge all night long. The numbers aren’t flashy and rarely will be, but Jack is one of the league’s best backup point guards, and his versatility on either end of the floor offers the Warriors additional options.
Three Things We Saw
- Poor Brandon Rush. Golden State’s super-sub went down awkwardly after a foul by Zach Randolph on a dunk attempt in the first quarter and immediately grabbed his left knee in agony. His face as he was being helped off the floor said it all; this injury seemed serious, and the not-for-squeamish replay indicated as much. In a classy move, Randolph visited Rush in the locker room shortly after the incident to express his sorrow and condolences. A MRI is scheduled for tomorrow. Here’s hoping Rush’s injury isn’t as bad as it looks and he’s able to recover soon.
- In an awful twist of fate, Andris Biedrins was summoned to the free throw line by Memphis coach Lionel Hollins when Rush went down. NBA rules state the opposing coach gets to choose which player on the roster shoots the injured player’s free throws, and unsurprisingly Biedrins’ name was called. He missed both attempts – though not as badly as you might expect – and later blocked a shot and attempted a reverse layup on successive possessions. All in all, not a dreadful performance by any stretch. Baby steps.
- In a strange third quarter moment, Lee rebounded a Tony Allen missed three throw and handed the ball to an official as other players tentatively retreated down the court. There was a small pause before anyone realized Allen had shot the bonus of a made basket plus the foul, meaning Lee should have played on. Both sides pleaded their case, and in a strange decision the referees awarded the ball to the Warriors. Seems it should have been a travel, double dribble, delay of game, or anything other than the end result.