The Grizzlies won that game with their defense, turning Golden State’s 17 lost fly balls into 26 points. They also took 18 more shots than their opponent. On the Warriors side, Klay Thompson (13 points) was again solid in 20 minutes of play.
Six loose balls from Golden State in the first seven minutes launch a 14-0 Memphis, led by unstoppable Ja Morant in transition (24-14). Like Stephen Curry without a basket in the first quarter, the Warriors’ attack suffered but their defense allowed them to stay in contact (28-24). The address of the Grizzlies, who are 5 out of 5 from afar during the first five minutes of the second half, quickly pushes the gap to +18 (49-31).
The return of Klay Thompson and the entry of Gary Payton II, however, change the situation. Ja Morant is put under the extinguisher and the Warriors find rhythm. Stephen Curry wakes up and an award-winning shot from his “Splash Brother” brings Golden State back below ten points (59-51).
The Dubs continue their momentum and start the third quarter on a 17-2 to reverse the trend and take up to eight points ahead (74-66). Gary Payton II’s exit revives Ja Morant and the Grizzlies respond with an 11-0. Stephen Curry stops the bleeding and Golden State keeps the lead (90-87). The awakening of Jaren Jackson Jr and the address of Ziaire Williams allow Memphis to move forward and take the advantage six minutes from the end of the match (103-99).
Two winning shots in a row from Tyus Jones, one after an offensive rebound and the other at the end of possession, put the Grizzlies at +9 (109-100). Klay Thompson and Gary Payton II bring the Warriors to -3 but five straight points from Ja Morant give Memphis a tenth straight win!
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The Memphis defense puts Ja Morant in orbit. As LeBron James said after the meeting between the Lakers and the Grizzlies on Sunday, Ja Morant has rockets in his calves, and the Memphis defense is his best launching pad. Tonight, during the first quarter, the Grizzlies jumped at the throat of the Warriors, causing six lost balls and allowing their leader to attack a defense on the heels. Ja Morant therefore took the opportunity to attack the circle relentlessly. He finished the first quarter with 15 points, and Memphis returned to the locker room with 20 points on Golden State’s 11 lost balls.
– The Gary Payton Effect II. As soon as he entered the game with three minutes to play in the first half, Gary Payton II changed the face of the game. He took care of the Morant case, allowing the Warriors to chain stops and go in transition. They will end the half on a 14-5. Steve Kerr keeps his replacement on the field after returning from the locker room, in place of Juan Toscano-Anderson, and his defense propels a 17-2 Warriors. As he’s shown since the start of the season, Gary Payton II does all the little things that help Golden State win games. He has built a nice cohesion with Curry, and seems to get along well with Klay Thompson.
– A budding rivalry? Four of the last five games between the Grizzlies and the Warriors have been decided in the last minutes: the last game of last season which allowed the Warriors to validate their eighth place, then two extensions during the “play-in” and the first game at Chase Center this season, and finally tonight’s game. If it is premature to speak of rivalry. The Grizzlies pose as one of the pet peeves of Stephen Curry’s gang. The two teams will meet on March 28 for a fourth duel, before perhaps crossing paths in the second round of the playoffs.
✅ Ja Morant. Well defended by Gary Payton II, Ja Morant scored 15 of his 29 points in the first quarter. He was, however, decisive in the last two minutes by attacking Andrew Wiggins on a switch to score five straight points that killed the game. He also added 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
✅ Tyus Jones. The substitute point guard was also decisive, scoring 6 of his 17 points in the last five minutes. He also delivered 8 assists and grabbed 6 rebounds, all in just 23 minutes of play.
✅ Zaire Williams. Absent during the last confrontation between the two teams, the rookie scored 17 points and inherited the Stephen Curry problem in defense. A match full of promise for the young winger.
✅Stephen Curry. Clumsy from afar, the double MVP still blackened the stat sheet, finishing with his second triple-double of the season (27 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists). However, he only scored two points in the last quarter.
⛔ Jaren Jackson Jr. The interior of the Grizzlies was hampered by fouls throughout the game. He picked up two quick fouls, before making three silly fouls each time Taylor Jenkins threw him back into the field. He redeemed himself in the last quarter to finish in a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
⛔ Juan Toscano-Anderson. Holder in the absence of Draymond Green, JTA disappointed. He lost 3 balls in seven minutes of play in the first quarter, played 17 seconds in the second quarter, before disappearing from Steve Kerr’s rotation.
Golden State (30-10): the Warriors continue in Milwaukee on the night of Thursday to Friday.
Memphis (29-14): the Grizzlies will try to win their 11th straight game against Minnesota, also Thursday night.