The Golden State Warriors apparently do their homework.
In the Memphis Grizzlies last game, a loss on Sunday to the Denver Nuggets, they were outscored 44-17 in the second quarter. So the Warriors, smart folks that they are, decided to follow the blueprint that Denver had provided.
It worked. The Warriors used a 23-2 run in the second quarter to turn a close game into a big lead. A 33-16 win in the second frame provided the cushion needed to ride out the second half, and win 114-95.
In their last two second quarters, the Grizzlies have been outscored 77-33.— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) November 20, 2019
By beating the Grizzlies, the Warriors picked up their third victory of the year, and their first since November 4. For however briefly, they managed to stop the bleeding, despite the absences of D’Angelo Russell, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, Jacob Evans III, and Alen Smailagic.
Perhaps more importantly, they found some rhythm and chemistry, and some units that played well together. They looked like a functional NBA team, which hasn’t been the case too often this year.
Most impressive was the defensive effort. While the Warriors have the worst defense in the league by a comfortable margin, they showed signs of life over the weekend, with two of their best defensive performances of the year. Against a Grizzlies team that has one of the league’s poorest offenses, the Warriors had a chance to build on their defensive gains.
They did exactly that.
Golden State held the Grizzlies to 40.9% shooting, and won the rebounding battle 51-37. They locked in against Memphis’ bright young duo of rookie Ja Morant and second-year big Jaren Jackson Jr., holding the two to a combined 28 points on 10-27 shooting.
In the third quarter, Draymond Green briefly gave the Warriors a scare, when he hit the ground hard and was holding his elbow while in serious pain. He left the game and was attended to by the trainers, and it felt like yet another inevitable injury.
Video of Draymond Green’s injury. Looks like Ky Bowman fell on his elbow after they contested a layup. Brutal stretch for Golden State continues pic.twitter.com/NCps39fUP8— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) November 20, 2019
But he was back in the fourth quarter to top off a sensational all-around performance in which he led both the offense and the defense. Despite struggling with his shot, Green finished with 8 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 blocks, and just 1 turnover.
Yet perhaps no one was more impressive than rookie Eric Paschall, who yet again showed us something new in his toolkit. This time? Mental strength. The 41st pick dealt with foul trouble all night long, and was visibly frustrated, as many of them were of the ticky-tack variety. Yet he didn’t let it impact his performance.
Paschall ultimately fouled out with two minutes remaining, but not before putting in 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Also of note was Marquese Chriss, who had his best game as a Warrior, by far. Chriss was all over the place (in the good way) on both ends of the court, with numerous highlight dunks and blocks. He finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks
After a rough streak, that was quite the palette-cleansing win.