Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors looks down at the floor as the Warriors were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Western Conference Play In game at Chase Center in San Francisco on Friday May 21, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors (0-2) lost a heartbreaker Friday night to the Memphis Grizzlies (2-0) 117-112. The Warriors lost by three to the Lakers Wednesday night. Had they won the game, they would have been the eighth seed and play the Utah Jazz this Sunday. Could the Warriors rebound?
Did they have enough gas left in the tank to take down the young and hungry Memphis team? The Warriors beat the Grizzlies last Sunday 113-101, and the team was confident they could beat Memphis again. Unfortunately for Golden State, Memphis figured out a way to beat them.
The Grizzlies’ young stars Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks led Memphis to the playoffs. They gave the Warriors all they could handle. Golden State didn’t quit as a late surge in the fourth quarter forced the game into overtime.
The Grizzlies got off to a great start. They were leading 24-14 when Steph Curry went on a personal 10-2 run to bring the Warriors within two, 26-24. Jordan Poole hit a three to give the Warriors a short-lived lead 27-26. Memphis regained the lead to finish the first quarter leading 30-29.
Things did not go well for the Warriors in the second quarter. Memphis started the quarter on a 15-9 run. They increased the lead to 15, 57-42. The Warriors Stephen Curry made a three, and Jordan Poole made a two-point basket to close within ten, 59-49.
The Grizzlies answered with a three to finish the first half leading 62-49. The Grizzlies outscored the Warriors 32-20 in the period. The Warriors continued to have problems handling the ball. They turned the ball over nine times in the first half to give the Grizzlies 13 points. Curry led the Warriors with 17. No other Warrior were in double figures. The Grizzlies’ bench outscored the Warriors bench 25-11.
The Warriors’ defense came to life in the third quarter. The Warriors held the Grizzlies to 16 points while scoring 24. The Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks hounded Curry all night long. Curry and Andrew Wiggins helped the Warriors fightback to finish the third quarter trailing by five, 78-73.
The fourth quarter would be a nailbiter. Memphis upped the lead to nine 97-88 with less than three minutes left in the game. The Warriors went on a 9-0 run tie the game 97-97. Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, and Curry all made key plays on the 9-0 run. Memphis went ahead by two 99-97 with 55 seconds left.
Andrew Wiggins made a bucket to the game 99-99. Memphis had the ball with 33.2 seconds left. The Warriors defense came up with the stop. The Warriors had 9.2 seconds left to make a basket and win the game. They could not score, and the game went into overtime.
Memphis scored the first bucket in OT. Wiggins tied it with a two-pointer to tie the game at 101-101. Curry scored a basket to put the Warriors in the lead 102-101. The Grizzlies’ Grayson Allen connected on two three-point shots to make it 107-103.
Green and Poole made baskets from downtown to give the s the Warriors advantage, 109-107. The Grizzlies’ Xavier Tillman made a three. Ja Morant made two more buckets to put the Grizzlies in the driver’s seat 114-109 with four seconds left. Poole hit a three to cut the lead to two, 114-112. With two seconds left in the game and Memphis had the ball. Desmond Bane scored the final three points of the game. Memphis wins 117-112.
Game Notes and Stats: The Warriors’ season ended Friday night. The Warriors lost key players to injuries. Klay Thompson will return to action next season. He suffered an Achilles tendon injury in November and worked hard to get back into playing shape.
Rookie center James Wiseman suffered a knee injury, Kelly Oubre, Jr wrist, Eric Paschall hip flexor. The Warriors were down to eight players. Curry had an amazing season and is now a candidate for the NBA’s MVP award. Jordan Poole showed that he could be an offensive threat coming off the bench. Poole was sent down to the G-League. He found his game.
Andrew Wiggins played well on both ends of the court this year. Green, a finalist for Defensive Player of the year, excelled as a point guard. He was third in the league with assists, averaging about nine per game.
Curry led the Warriors with 39 points. He was 13-for-28 from the floor and connected on six threes. Andrew Wiggins had a double-double with 22 points and ten boards. Green did everything he could to help the Warriors effort. He finished the night with a triple-double.
The Warriors usually never lose when Green has a triple-double. It was the second time in his career that the team lost when he achieved his goal. His line was 11 points, 16 rebounds, and ten assists. Poole had 19, Kent Bazemore ten.
As a team, the W’s shot 44.7% from the floor. They made 12 threes.
Ja Morant led Memphis with 35 points. Dillon Brooks had 13, Jarret Jackson 10. The Memphis bench outscored the Warriors bench 40-27.
The Warriors committed 21 turnovers. Memphis scored 22 points off those turnovers.
So, the season ends for Golden State. The team played well down the stretch. Curry was amazing. The team may not be going to the playoffs this year, but there is great anticipation for next season when Thompson, Wiseman, Paschall, and Oubre return. They were fun to watch.