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Recap: Warriors use explosive 3rd quarter to beat the Grizzlies 117-101

Despite losing Draymond to a foot injury, the Warriors use a 34-15 drubbing to runaway with their 8th straight win by defeating the Grizzlies.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
Kevon Looney provided tough defense after Draymond Green left with a foot injury.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors used one of their patented third quarter blitzes to peal away from a stingy Memphis Grizzlies defense in a 117-101 win that extended the team’s winning streak to eight.

For the first time this season, Stephen Curry looked like a mere mortal. He struggled with his shot all game, taking 17 attempts to score 19 points and turning the ball over 5 times. Even though he missed a few easy ones, credit the Grizzlies lengthy guards for harassing Curry all over the court and disrupting his game.

Luckily the Warriors have the best insurance policy around in Curry’s co-stars as Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant scored 27 and 22 points respectively to help buoy the offense.

Thompson was the hot hand to start the game and helped steady both the starting lineup and the second unit’s scoring output throughout the game with efficient shot-making.

Durant had another typically efficient night as well but also showed some growth in his role on this Warriors team. Despite the team struggling to score, he hardly looked to press for his own shot, instead opting to act more as a playmaker — especially after Draymond Green left the game with a foot injury.

He only took 2 shots in the first quarter, and didn’t really start looking to score until he came back in the second quarter. Surely enough he hit his first 5 attempts while barely being bothered by any of Memphis’s defenders.

But even with his shot falling efficiently, Durant never forcibly called his own number which was a nice change of pace for him in the type of mucked-up game where he might’ve done so a year ago.

On the other end of the court, Green was tenaciously playing defense before he left the game midway in the second quarter — including this beautiful recovery block.

His absence opened up the game for the Grizzlies to take advantage. But even though they thoroughly outplayed the Warriors in the first half, they still could only manage to walk away with the game tied at 58 a piece.

Once intermission was over, the Warriors flipped that infamous proverbial switch from last year to blow away their opponent by 19 points in the third quarter.

Unfortunately, foul trouble to Damian Jones and the unavailability of a number of key reserves kept the Warriors from being able to completely sit their stars for the final quarter. But the team ended up comfortably walking to the finish line with no further injury scares in sight.

Random musings

Jordan Bell is increasingly looking like he’s taken a drastic step backwards from his stalwart rookie season. While he had a nice block and back-cut to layup sequence, he lost his man on more than a handful of possessions and looked out of touch on the offensive end. Perhaps this has to due to his limited minutes, but this game did him no favors to suggest he might become the play-making, defensive energizer the Warriors thought he would grow into this year.

On the other end of the spectrum, Alfonzo McKinnie continued his amazing cinderella story by scoring 14 points and knocking down two of his three 3-point attempts. He also opened up his skillset, showcasing his ability to hit a shot off the dribble.

It was exciting to watch Quinn Cook have his breakout game of the season as he knocked down multiple treys in the final quarter. Hopefully this will give him some momentum moving forward as his scoring prowess really opens up the floor (especially for the reserver unit).

Jonas Jerebko is a monster. His shooting ability has matched expectations and his defense has been better than advertised. The Swedish Larry Bird is for real.

Kevon Looney is looking better and better each game. Beyond his typical high-activity on the boards and great defense, he showed off some finishing ability at the rim — an area he had trouble with in previous years. Where he used to throw the ball too hard off the glass, he was instead giving the right amount of touch to complete the play.

How Damion Lee somehow managed to almost give up a touchdown buzzer beater layup at the end of the third quarter was mind-boggling considering this came after a dead-ball situation where the defense was set up. Thank god Curry was there to block the shot, saving the day and his brother-in-law.

Next up

The Warriors will host the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo on Thursday.

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