Only three undefeated teams remain in the 2014-2015 NBA Season. The Houston Rockets, taking last night off, the Memphis Grizzlies, beating the Phoenix Suns 102-91, and the Golden State Warriors, destroying a team they love to beat, winning 121-104 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Klay Thompson, maybe the best player in the league since the season began, wasn’t all that special. He scored 19 points, letting Stephen Curry with 28 take center stage, like it’s been for most of these last couple of years. Draymond Green had one of his best games, scoring 24 points and as always, trying his best to get on the nerves of Blake Griffin and other Clipper players.
The win came despite 23 turnovers, an illness that has been plaguing the Warriors since last season. When you shoot 58.1% from the field and 60% from beyond the arc, all the turnovers in the world won’t take away the win from you. The Warriors also played some very good defense, making things very difficult for Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The only time when the Clippers seemed like an actual match for the Warriors was when Jamal Crawford, with 24 points, was playing. But he had only 25 minutes of basketball to give as the Clippers lose again in Oakland.
The Memphis Grizzlies might not have the high powered offense the Warriors put on the floor each night, but they have other ways of dealing with teams. Their defense inside and outside, with Marc Gasol, Tony Allen and Mike Conley doing most of the work, has been too much for all their opponents so far this season, including the Suns, who rely heavily on speed and the ability to run the floor through their three dominant point guards.
Goran Dragic, not off to the best of starts on his contract year, was limited to just six points on 3-of-9 from the field. Eric Bledsoe did score 23 points, but he turned the ball over nine times. Unlike previous games, the tandem of Gerald Green and Isaiah Thomas didn’t do anything special, contributing a combined 26 points. That’s not bad for bench players, but the both of them are much more important than being just minute fillers for “superior” players.
While the Suns backcourt was stifled, the one from the Grizzlies had its way with the defense in front of it. Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 24 points and Courtney Lee scored 22, with the Grizzlies hoping that having him on for an entire season means a much better record when it’s time to see the playoff seeding. Marc Gasol scored 18 points, grabbing 5 rebounds and adding six assists. Zach Randolph scored 10 points, not necessary of him to do too much.
None of the three teams currently with 0 losses were marked as championship contenders when the season began. But the Houston Rockets, making forced changes during the offseason, might be better than they were last season, a lot clearer on how things should work offensively. The Grizzlies, with Marc Gasol healthy and Lee on for the entire run, are much better than the team that barely made it into the playoffs last season. The Warriors? They haven’t always faced the most difficult of teams, but right they’re playing like the best team in the NBA.