Outmatched by strong performances from Memphis Grizzlies youth, the Warriors were unable to overcome sloppy shooting Monday night, falling 110-102.
On the road to recovery, the Golden State Warriors (5-20) are starting to get healthier after a miserable start, with the recent returns of Kevon Looney and D’Angelo Russell. Monday night the Warriors would be without Damion Lee, who has been day-to-day with a right-hand injury.
Last Friday night, the Warriors just barely squeaked out a 100-98 win over the Chicago Bulls. Monday night, the Warriors returned home to face the Memphis Grizzlies (7-16) in an effort to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Grizzlies star rookie Ja Morant returned Monday night. Dealing with back soreness, Morant was sidelined for four games after his hot start to the season.
With Russell and Draymond Green both back from early-season injuries, the Warriors will lean on both moving forward. Golden State started Green, Russell, Glenn Robinson III, Willie Cauley-Stein and standout rookie Eric Paschall against the Grizzlies starting-five of Morant, Dillion Brooks, Jae Crowder, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Jonas Valanciunas.
Monday night got off to a sloppy start. Within the first minute, both teams had turned the ball over. The Warriors fed the ball to Green and Russell throughout the first quarter, while the Grizzlies spread the ball around to Valanciunas, Brooks, and Morant.
The Grizzlies entire starting five attempted multiple 3’s in the first quarter. Attacking the Warriors beyond the arc, the Grizzlies shot 7-for-15 from three, while the Warriors were 3-for-6.
The Warriors dug themselves into a hole right off the bat. The Grizzlies held a commanding lead all-throughout the first quarter. Overall, the Warriors shot 7-for-21 (33%) as a team in the first quarter. Green (7 pts, 2-3 FG, 1-1 3PT, 2-3 FT) and Russell (6 pts, 2-4 FG, 1-1 3 PT 1-2 FT) led the way in scoring for the Warriors.
Russell hit a fade-away three to end the first quarter down 29-20, while Ky Bowman opened the second quarter with a three to close the nine-point gap.
Alec Burks came into Monday night scoring double-digit points in six consecutive games. In the second quarter, Burks would get hot, scoring nine points off the bench.
With 6:48 left in the first half, the Warriors slowly closed the gap, trailing 38-35. A slew of turnovers by both teams allowed the Warriors to inch even closer. Russell hit a big three with just over 3:30 left to pull the Warriors within two.
Grizzlies shooting guard Grayson Allen was red-hot in the second quarter. Shooting 4-for-4 from three, Allen responded to the Warriors comeback with a couple of threes as the Grizzlies began to separate. Heading into half time, the Grizzlies held onto a 54-47 lead.
The Warriors starting five began the third quarter down by seven. Cauley-Stein helped the Warriors once again close the gap, scoring five straight points and coming down with a few big defensive rebounds. Cauley-Stein recorded a season-high 17 points Monday night.
Halfway through the third quarter, the Warriors found themselves down 66-65 with 6:47 remaining. Russell would match his 3-for-11 shooting in the first half with an identical 3-for-11 in the second, with a three-pointer. Russell and Green were all knotted up at 14 points apiece.
With Russell having a rough night shooting, Steve Kerr gave some insight into why the Warriors star was so inconsistent Monday night:
The Grizzlies continued to outclass the Warriors beyond the arc, a big reason as to why five of their players (Allen, Brooks, Morant, Valanciunas, Jackson) had reached double-digits by the end of the third quarter. As the third quarter came to a close, the Grizzlies led 89-79 behind sharp shooting nights from Morant (13 pts, 3-4 3 PT) Brooks (17 pts, 3-6 3 PT), and Allen (15 pts, 3-4 3 PT).
Every time the Warriors inched closer, the Grizzlies would immediately pull away. Beginning the fourth quarter down by 10, the Warriors, who were shooting 39.4% (26-66) from the field, had to clean things up if they were to overcome the deficit.
Marquese Chriss found the basket a couple of times halfway through the fourth quarter while coming down with five rebounds. Down 15 points with 5:57 remaining in the game, the Warriors looked cooked. Valanciunas fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
Coming into this game, the Warriors and the Grizzlies each had top-scoring rookies in Morant (317 points) and Paschall (393 points). Monday night, Morant stole the show. Dropping 26 points, Morant shot 8-for-14 on FG, and 3-for-5 of 3 PTs. Paschall (5 pts, 2 reb, 0 assists, 1 block) on the other hand, was not much of a factor at all.
After a very disappointing loss, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr had this to say about his team’s effort:
“Yeah it was a disappointing game. I thought it was good early, but the execution was really poor. We turned it over a lot in the game, and then we had some shot turnovers and some really bad field goal attempts that might as well be turnovers, because they’re going the other way. We probably had six or seven of those in the first half, and then it’s just like every time we started to make a push and get it to within one, we’d give up three hoops in a row. Often it was just carelessness. Back-cut here, or transition-basket there, it was a very disappointing game.”
Following the Warriors loss, they will welcome the New York Knicks (4-19) to town Wednesday night. The Knicks and Warriors have been at the bottom of their respective conference standings all season, as both teams came into this season with very different expectations.
- Monday’s loss to the Grizzlies was frustrating for everyone, especially the Warriors veteran players, who expect better from the team. Draymond Green did not hold back frustration in his post-game press conference:
- The Grizzlies shot the ball well Monday night (50% from the field). Sharp-shooting teams have been the Achilles heel of this young Warriors team. When the opposing team shoots 50% or better, the Warriors are 0-8 on the season.