The Warriors are now experiencing adversity. Serious adversity.
Memphis smashed the Warriors in the paint in Game 3 and now lead the Western Conference Semifinals 2-1 after a 99-89 win tonight.
The Grizzlies took advantage of a few lucky bounces, to be sure, but the way the last two games have gone, this series is going at Memphis' pace. Slow, grind-it-out basketball.
Golden State committed 17 turnovers, which led to 22 points for Memphis. An immense turnover came when Draymond Green drove into the teeth of the defense and lost the ball, leading to a Tony Allen lay-in that sealed the game with 1:09 left.
Mike Conley and Allen frustrated Stephen Curry in Game 2, and his struggles continued in Game 3. Curry never really looked comfortable shooting the basketball tonight, going 2-10 from three-point land, and he even missed a couple of important free throws. And on defense, he lost Courtney Lee for what would turn out to be Game 3's biggest basket: Lee's three with 2:40 remaining to put Memphis up seven, after the Warriors had cut the lead to four.
Golden State got a lot of open shots that they couldn't convert — especially from three, where they went 6-26, and the foul line, where they went just 19-28. Notably, Klay Thompson missed a pair of freebies in the fourth quarter and Green negated a Curry make with a critical lane violation. The Warriors will have to make those shots in Game 4.
Steve Kerr tried to speed up the game in the fourth quarter by going small, with Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green; Andrew Bogut didn't play down the stretch. Golden State cut a 19-point lead to four with two minutes left, but could not get a key stop when it counted. With Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph hitting clutch shots in the fourth, we may see more of the Warriors' best rim protector in Game 4 -- and the Warriors need that protection more than ever.
This series is not over by any means. The Warriors already beat the Grizzlies in Memphis this season; there is no reason to think they cannot do it again. To do so, it will require a better effort by the Warriors in the paint. Memphis has taken control of this series, but the Warriors were the NBA's best team by a wide margin this year.
It is time to show why. The 67-15 Warriors are officially on the ropes.