Every game in the Western conference matters in a playoff race and positional battle that involves nine teams, unlike the East where things are a lot more simpler. The Memphis Grizzlies needed this win against the Golden State Warriors, but not being able to find an answer to Stephen Curry proved to be fatal in 100-93 loss.
Curry finished with 33 points and 8 assists, which included 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and the go-ahead three pointer with 1:22 left in the game. The Warriors didn’t have Andrew Bogut in the game since the first quarter after getting kneed in the groin by Marc Gasol, but were able to play great clutch defense without him as Jermaine O’Neal stepped up, along with the rest of the team, to make sure their starting center’s absence won’t be noticed too much.
The Grizzlies have dominated the Warriors over the last couple of seasons, but their offense got stuck in the final quarter, finishing with only 17 points. They couldn’t get anything to go for them from beyond the arc, finishing with an awful 2-of-12, with Mike Conley being the only player to hit a 3-pointer.
The Warriors, obviously, got a bit more from others, including from the outside. Klay Thompson scored 14 points, Marreese Speights starting for David Lee had another big game when he gets the chance, finishing with 15 points and 8 rebounds, while Draymond Green once again was the team’s best player off the bench with 12 points. O’Neal had 10, while Harrison Barnes continues to disappoint, finishing with only 4 points, two of them coming from an impressive dunk of a great Curry assist.
But with all of the great supporting cast, the Warriors are Curry’s team, and in close games they rely on him to finish the job. Their defense can be surprisingly efficient at times, especially against teams like the Grizzlies, who often find it very difficult to get into a scoring rhythm late in games without too many players who can create points for themselves. The Warriors don’t have that problem with Curry, who can create a shot for himself and someone else on almost every possession. When he’s red hot, it usually means being almost impossible to stop.
The Warriors are sixth in the West, creating some separation between them and the Grizzlies, who are now 8th, two games behind the Warriors. Dallas and the Suns are also in the mix for spots 5-to-8, but it’s going to be difficult moving Portland from where they are, but none of them have clinched a playoff spot yet which makes every game between these teams matter, and every loss quite painful.
Memphis is right behind us. These are home games we need to close out to finish the season. They are a good team that has beaten us when we’ve had all our players. This was a big-time win. We still have work to do. We have to play together and show up on the defensive end like we did tonight. We have the weapons to deliver a heavy punch at any time.