The Golden State Warriors have caught some breaks during their 16-game winning streak.
In their overtime win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Anthony Davis sat out with a chest injury and the Warriors managed to escape big performances from Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday. Against an experienced Memphis Grizzlies team, the Golden State Warriors faced their toughest challenge yet in a 105-98 loss with Andrew Bogut (knee) and David Lee (hamstring) still rehabbing from injuries.
While Golden State jumped out to an early 30-24 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, Memphis' bulky frontcourt of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph would continue to give them trouble throughout the game. A 20-0 run by the Grizzlies to open up the 2nd quarter from their 2nd unit left the Warriors scrambling to fight back. Vince Carter showed remnants of vintage Vinsanity, leading the reserves with 16 points and 4 threes while Jon Leuer pitched in with 11 points. Fortunately, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson finally started to hit some shots and cut the half-time deficit to 8 points.
In the second half, the Warriors were within attacking range but Curry's production cooled down as he ended on a poor shooting night overall, 9-25 FG and 1-10 3PT FG. Additionally, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala were a combined 5-21 from the floor, failing to provide offensive output despite their presence being felt on the defensive end. Thompson was the silver lining who had a solid individual performance dropping 22 points on 8-16 shooting.
- The Warriors definitely missed Andrew Bogut's presence on both ends of the floor. On defense, Marreese Speights was forced to guard Gasol for the majority of the game because Festus Ezeli was dealing with foul trouble. We did not get to see Ognjen Kuzmic as the Warriors opted to go small. The offense was looking a little sloppy at times leading to a forced or ill advised shot. Bogut's facilitation of DHO's and off-ball screens would usually create more opportunities and options in the offensive system. Unfortunately, his absence left a huge gap.
- In the fourth quarter, Golden State tried to counter Memphis' attack scheme with their small-ball lineup utilizing Green at center. Playing small allowed the Warriors to play at a much quicker tempo and attack from the perimeter. However, this compensation of quickness for length gave the Grizzlies a much larger advantage on the offensive glass. An offensive rebound late in the fourth lead to a Tayshaun Prince three-pointer which gave Memphis a two-possession lead.
- Steve Kerr and Andre Iguodala were knocked with technicals because of this obvious travel by Mike Conley. We all disagree with the no-call, but it should not have happened. The two technical free throws were a resultant of loss composure and optimally crucial in this tight game.
- It was Golden State's third game in four days and the last of the road trip. At the end of a road trip, the team is tired and players are mending bumps and bruises. I personally would have liked to see Kerr dig deep into the bench as the Warriors played a 8-man rotation and some guys looked a bit tired.
Golden State was on the road, against one of the top defensive teams in the association and without their starting big man. Hopefully the Warriors start a new winning streak on Thursday!
Next up: Thunder vs. Warriors @ Oracle Arena, CA, December 18th, 7:30pm
Watch on: TNT
Listen on: KNBR 680 AM
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