If Game 1 between the Warriors and Grizzlies is any indicator of the quality of basketball we’ll see throughout the series, we’re in for a treat, because Golden State, fueled by a 39-point third quarter led by Jordan Poole, swept home advantage. with a 117-116 win.
The game was close for much of the first quarter, but Memphis managed to draw first blood with a late 9-0 push to take an 8-point second quarter advantage. In the lead was Ja Morant, who orchestrated the Memphis offense beautifully, especially when they could get out and run away from Warriors turnovers.
The Warriors would respond with their own run in the second quarter as Jordan Poole took center stage, finding free space on the perimeter to help Golden State bring Memphis back.
The biggest moment of the first half came on a foul by Draymond Green on Brandon Clarke, in which he punched the young Grizzlies center in the face for a block, then dragged him down by his jersey. Upon review, it was determined that the foul combination met the criteria for a Flagrant 2 and Green was ejected from the match.
Almost immediately, the Grizzlies were on a run, with a pair of Morant baskets closing the half in style for the Grizzlies, pushing their lead to six at the break.
In the third quarter, Golden State came out with a little more fire and more attention to detail on the offensive side, reducing turnovers and creating a number of open looks for Poole, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as a trio of shooters. started to pull away and helped turn a 6-point deficit into a 1-point lead in fourth.
The Warriors could very well have put the game aside in the third quarter had it not been for the efforts of Jaren Jackson Jr., who buried three after three to keep the Grizzlies tied.
Early in the fourth, it was the Warriors’ turn to make another run, as Poole and Thompson hit hard shots to push the lead to 10 midway through the period.
As was the case in their first-round series, the Grizzlies had a fourth-quarter response ready, with Ja Morant taking center stage as they began to turn defense into offense after seeing their halfback sets. ground bogged down at the start of the quarter.
After leveling things up, Memphis came back in front by two on a Morant layup where he was fouled (but would miss the free throw).
Every time the Grizzlies took a lead on a Morant bucket, the Warriors ended up getting an easy bucket on the other end, first a second-chance dunk from Andrew Wiggins, then a blown coverage leading to a dunk from Gary PaytonII. It offset Ja’s effort and tied the game at 114-114, when Brandon Clarke gave Memphis a two-point advantage on a lob play.
Golden State would find the answer in the form of Thompson, who drilled an open three (something Golden State otherwise struggled to do in the stretch) to push Golden State back into the lead.
On Memphis’ next possession, Morant put Curry on a switch and tried to attack into a floater, but Steph was able to get his hands on the ball to force a turnover and give the Warriors a chance to go up three on the free. . throwing line.
However, Thompson missed a pair of free throws at the other end and after a bizarre refereeing decision to call a jump after it appeared Dillon Brooks last touched him before he sort of bounds, Memphis had life to end. The Grizzlies fired the final game to get Morant down in the bucket, but Thompson was able to pull him away from the rim and force a tough layup that didn’t come that close.
It’s a tough loss to take if you’re the Grizzlies, having led by two in the final minute after fighting back from a 10-point deficit. Their biggest issues were clearing the defensive glass, as the Warriors had 26 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds, and creating quality looks in the half-court for much of the third and fourth quarters, as their attack stopped once the Warriors started to get better. ball control. Jaren Jackson Jr.’s effort (33 points), especially in the third quarter, and Morant’s play in the streak (34 points) were almost enough to overcome that, as they became the first Grizzlies pair to score each more than 30 points in a playoff game in franchise history.
For Golden State, this game will look like a bit of theft considering they faced a six-point halftime deficit after Draymond was thrown out, but they mounted a hot shot Poole, buckets opportunities from Thompson and Curry, and an impressive green-less defensive effort in the win. Poole continues to impress, stepping up in games the Warriors desperately need him for, finishing with 31 points, nine assists and eight rebounds off the bench. Curry had 24 points and Thompson had 15, but it was Poole’s effort that seemed to serve as the catalyst for their second half in Green’s absence.
Now it’s up to Memphis to at least split up at home like they did last series, while the Warriors will be hoping a full game with Green will help improve their late-game defense as Morant was able to go just about anywhere he wanted.