What we learned as Grizzlies dismantle Warriors in Game 5 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Western Conference semifinals are headed back to Chase Center. With the opposition’s star in street clothes, the Warriors had a golden opportunity and instead were embarrassed Wednesday night at FedExForum, losing 134-95 to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 5 of their second-round series,
Once again, the Warriors came out flat and the Grizzlies took advantage. The Warriors came into the night trailing after the first quarter in each of the first four games, but had won the second quarter every single time. Not this time.
They went down by 10 points after the first frame and were dominated in the second, going into halftime with a 27-point deficit. Much of the same issues that have plagued the Warriors in the past showed up again, especially their infatuation with turning the ball over. The Warriors turned the ball over 14 times in the first 24 minutes, one more than their 13 assists.
The Grizzlies scored 25 points off Golden State’s turnover barrage in the first half, putting the Warriors in an impossible hole to dig out of.
Klay Thompson scored 19 points and Steph Curry dropped 14 before the Splash Brothers were pulled not even halfway through the third quarter. Jordan Poole again couldn’t find his shot from him and had the worst performance of his young playoff career, scoring only three points while going 1-for-6 from the field and committing four turnovers.
Draymond Green’s turnover troubles continued with five more in 22 minutes.
What could have been a statement game for the Warriors was nothing more than an ugly reality check.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ 39-point blowout loss, forcing a Game 6 with them up three-games-to-two in the series.
The Warriors surprised many by winning the rebounding battle in each of the first four games of the series. They also scored more points in the paint in the first three games, before that streak came to a halt on Monday night. That also happened to be the first game that Grizzlies center Steven Adams was inserted back into the starting lineup.
Adams was there again Wednesday night, and the Grizzlies were back to dominate the glass. They grabbed 30 rebounds to the Warriors’ 17 in the first half, and the biggest difference was the two squads went into halftime with the Warriors only securing two offensive rebounds, and the Grizzlies bringing in 13.
The Warriors ended up being outrebounded 55 to 37. The Grizzlies scored 50 points in the paint, and the Warriors scored 36. Adams led Memphis with 13 rebounds in 22 minutes. Green led Golden State with seven.
End The Experiment
Jonathan Kuminga has star potential. We’ve seen him flash it, and there’s a reason why he became the youngest player in NBA history to start a playoff game. He was in the starting lineup for the third straight contest in Game 5, and it’s time for that streak to come to an end.
Kuminga played five minutes in the first quarter. He went 1-for-3 from the field, scored two points and was a minus-7 in plus-minus. The truth is, the 19-year-old looked lost.
Jaren Jackson Jr. dominated him on offense, scoring 10 quick points and going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. The Grizzlies were begging Kuminga and Draymond Green to shoot the ball, giving the Warriors essentially only three scoring options. Kuminga didn’t play at all in the second quarter, and Nemanja Bjelica started the third quarter in place of him.
Whether it’s starting small and putting Poole back in to begin the game, making Otto Porter Jr. — who was ruled out for the second half with right foot soreness — a starter or going more traditional with center Kevon Looney, a change needs to be made in Game 6.
There’s no two ways around it: The Warriors got smacked up and down the court and have to own it. For what this series has turned into, they could have hushed Grizzlies coaches, players and fans.
And they would have loved to do so on the road, too.
Maybe it was too much BBQ at Blues City Cafe, who knows. But the Warriors were sleep-walking through a game they should have been stepping on the gas from start to finish. A win wouldn’t have just been sweet for the pettiness of this growing rivalry. It would have given them some key rest as well.
The Warriors have been banged up this series, and that didn’t stop in Game 5. Porter didn’t come out of the locker room after halftime and Poole took several hard blows, including a pass straight to the face. If the Warriors won, their next game would have been Monday at the earliest.
But that’s not the case. They’ll take a long flight home and have to gear up for Friday night’s game in San Francisco. They’re still in the driver’s seat, though the pressure has turned up after a wasted chance to close out the semifinals.