Golden State responds like a champion
Grizzlies ahead Kyle Anderson, often as mild-mannered as they arrive, had simply gotten ejected arguing with the refs over a name that will don’t have any impact on the end result, when All-Star level guard Ja Morant started his early exit.
He first limped to the sideline throughout a timeout, then ultimately walked behind the Warriors bench and again to the locker room as Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins waved the white flag. But simply earlier than Morant crossed the edge separating the courtroom from the internal hallways of the Chase Center, Klay Thompson pulled up for one more 3-pointer.
Whether that swish was meant to be symbolic or not, it positive felt like a message. Golden State is an unrelenting impediment, and the Grizzlies skilled the complete power of it.
Now comes a take a look at that can decide whether or not Memphis has met its match, whether or not the three-time champion making an attempt for one more one is an excessive amount of for this rising group of gamers who consider they’re able to contend for a title earlier than anybody else did.
The Grizzlies are in the identical place they had been within the first spherical, down 2-1 of their collection with Golden State after an emphatic Warriors efficiency. But that is additionally, very clearly, a problem in contrast to any Memphis has confronted throughout the Morant period.
Golden State reminded anybody watching, with its dedication and its decision-making, of all of the totally different occasions it has confronted these pivotal playoff moments throughout this decade-long run with Steph Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.
The Warriors needed to strike again after an emotional Game 2 loss, they usually delivered a convincing blow. The avalanche arrived somewhat later than anticipated, however the Grizzlies ultimately had no reply for this snowball.
Memphis couldn’t get a significant cease, as Golden State shot higher than 70% from the ground effectively into the third quarter. Thompson, Curry, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and actually anybody who touched the ball, appeared to search out their stroke.
Memphis, in the meantime, was too usually a one-man present as soon as once more, with Morant piling up 34 factors that hardly made a dent within the deficit after halftime. His exploits disguised among the Grizzlies’ in Game 2. They weren’t practically sufficient to reply the deluge Golden State put collectively Saturday, and the seriousness of Morant’s damage would be the largest storyline heading into Game 4 on Monday night time.
But the highlight and stress now sit squarely on Memphis. The Warriors confirmed the Grizzlies simply how a lot they’re going to should conjure as much as take them out. If Memphis cannot reply in variety, if Morant is proscribed shifting ahead, management of this collection is prone to slip away for good.
A deceptive begin
The first half showcased the Grizzlies’ resilience, but additionally their imperfections.
Everybody assumed, after an emotional opening two video games, that it might be Golden State that got here out with one in all its signature 3-point barrages now that the collection had switched to San Francisco. Instead, it was the Grizzlies who started Saturday dropping pictures in from everywhere in the courtroom.
Their first six discipline targets had been 3-pointers, and the open exterior pictures Golden State needed Memphis to take continued to spice up its offense.
But then the Warriors went to a 1-2-2 zone protection, which was each a surprising admission of how few solutions they should Morant’s penetration and a momentum-swinging transfer. The Grizzlies’ halfcourt offense slowed down after the primary six minutes of the sport, and Golden State methodically grabbed management of the sport.
Memphis missed all however one in all its last 9 pictures to shut the primary quarter and its 5 reserves (Tyus Jones, De’Anthony Melton, John Konchar, Anderson and Brandon Clarke) began the sport 2-of-11 from the sector. Jenkins is confronted with a vital adjustment heading into Game 4 as a result of Golden State’s zone proved very efficient in forcing the incorrect Memphis gamers into taking pictures.
No Dillon Brooks or Steven Adams
The Grizzlies acquired via most of Game 2 with out Dillon Brooks largely as a result of Golden State missed pictures it doesn’t usually miss, rookie Ziaire Williams offered sufficient reinforcements and Morant took over late.
His absence, the results of a one-game suspension for an extreme flagrant foul on Golden State’s Gary Payton II, loomed a lot bigger in Game 3. The Warriors shredded the Memphis protection Saturday, knifing into the lane virtually at will utilizing the pick-and-roll, creating huge open appears with their signature ball motion.
Perhaps Golden State was simply due for a efficiency like this after a traditionally dangerous taking pictures show in Game 2. But Brooks can also be the Grizzlies’ greatest perimeter defender, the participant charged with defending Curry on this collection, and a helpful secondary resolution when Memphis is struggling in its halfcourt units.
That controversial flagrant foul lastly caught as much as Memphis Saturday.
Steven Adams, in the meantime, was in uniform and accessible for the Grizzlies, however Jenkins selected to not use him till late within the fourth quarter throughout rubbish time. It will definitely be a subject of debate forward of Game 4 after Golden State once more gained the rebounding battle over a Memphis crew that was presupposed to have a bonus in that space heading into the collection.
Going small ought to work higher with Brooks accessible to stability out the lineup. But after the best way Golden State torched Memphis, Adams could possibly be the change of tempo these Grizzlies want now they’ve reached one other crossroads on this postseason run.
You can attain Commercial Appeal columnist Mark Giannotto by way of electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and comply with him on Twitter: @mgiannotto
This article initially appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Golden State Warriors present Memphis Grizzlies how a champion responds