The Golden State Warriors still haven’t clinched the top spot in the Western Conference, but with a 107-84 win over the Memphis Grizzlies they made sure no one is going to stand in their way.
A dominant road win over the second seed in the West didn’t just open up possibilities for other teams to catch up with the Grizzlies in the remaining games, but also showed that the Warriors might actually be the team to fear the most on the way to the NBA title. Obviously, the best record in the league should serve as excellent indication, but easy wins over excellent teams make it even easier to be convinced.
Sure, the Grizzlies are going through a mini-crisis, losing two big games against the Cavaliers and now the Warriors, both at home. The pressure and defense forced 19 turnovers from the Grizzlies, including five by Mike Conley and four from Marc Gasol. Without their two playmakers being able to consistently get the offense moving, the Grizzlies seemed a bit lost while the Warriors surged past them.
This was Stephen Curry’s finest performance in a while, scoring 38 points to go with 10 assists. In the open floor, maybe only Russell Westbrook is more dangerous or fun to watch, but Curry turns fast breaks and transition offense into easy 3-pointers, which might not wow the fans like dunks but overall are a lot more effective, especially when Curry is hitting them like layups (8-of-12 from beyond the arc).
With so many open looks, Klay Thompson also looked great in a rare sight over the last month or two – Curry and Thompson running wild offensively at the same time. Thompson scored 28 points, also hitting 66.7% of his 3-point attempts. The Warriors shot 51.6% from beyond the arc, not needing anyone to really step up beyond what they got from the best backcourt in the league.
This is just the second time the Warriors have won in Memphis since Stephen Curry joined the team in 2009, going 2-9 in this “era”. It was also the Grizzlies’ worst home loss of the season, coming two nights after their previous worst loss (by 22 points) to the Cleveland Cavaliers. A crisis at this point of the season is very good news for the Warriors, and also the rest of the Western conference.