So much for the dawn of a new winning streak.
The Golden State Warriors succumbed to the Memphis Grizzlies by a score of 110-102, in a rematch between two of the Western Conference’s bottom-tier teams. The first showdown between these teams ended with a dominating Warriors win, but the Grizzlies were able to take their revenge and even the season series up.
The Warriors’ league-worst three-point shooting defense reared its ugly head as early as the first quarter, where the Grizzlies shot 7-of-15 from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies weren’t a particularly exceptional three-point shooting team going into tonight’s game (34.2 percent, ranked 24th in the NBA), but even a mediocre shooting team can be made to look like a team of Stephen Currys when they’re practically allowed to step into their threes with little to no defensive pressure being applied.
The Warriors have usually been a turnover-averse team this year, but they have been turning the ball over more lately, and tonight was no different. In the first quarter alone, they turned the ball over 6 times, with careless passing and mishandling of the ball biting them on the foot early.
They were able to tone their turnovers down in the second quarter, committing only 3 of them. They outscored the Grizzlies, 27-25, but ended the half on an abysmal 32.6 percent from the field.
Warriors at half vs. MEM:— Joe Viray (@JoeViray90) December 10, 2019
The third quarter saw the Grizzlies outscore the Warriors, 35-32. At one point, the Warriors were able to cut the deficit to a single point, but their inability to generate a consistent stream of points — coupled with their overall inability to defend (allowing the Grizzlies to shoot 6-of-11 on threes during the third quarter) — allowed the Grizzlies to pull away once again.
The Warriors won the fourth quarter, 23-22, but it was not enough to significantly close the gap. D’Angelo Russell top-scored for the Warriors with 18 points and 7 assists, but needed 22 shots in what was his most inefficient performance of the season. Alec Burks also scored 18 off the bench, but was more efficient — 4-of-9 from the field, 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
- Jacob Evans III made his return after a 21-game absence due to an abductor strain. He played 11 minutes off the bench and scored 2 points. Evans’ return to the rotation spelled doom for Jordan Poole’s rotation minutes, who was a DNP for the game. This could be the beginning of Poole’s eventual demotion to the G League, and a much-needed one at that.
- In a battle between top Rookie-of-the-Year candidates, the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant outdueled the Warriors’ Eric Paschall. Morant finished with 26 points and 7 assists, on shooting splits of .571/.600/.875. Paschall, on the other hand, struggled mightily, finishing with only 5 points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field. If the race between the two was close at the beginning of the night, Morant then pulled away for a two-lap lead by the end of it.
- The Warriors’ bench outscored the Grizzlies’ bench, 42-36, thanks to the efforts of Burks, Ky Bowman (8 points), and Omari Spellman (10 points). Kevon Looney, on the other hand, failed to score in his 10 minutes off the bench. It’s clear that the veteran still has lots to go in terms of getting into his usual rhythm.
- The main culprit behind this Warriors’ loss: allowing the Grizzlies to shoot 50 percent from the field, including a 15-of-40 clip from beyond the arc, good for 37.5 percent.
The Warriors will take on the New York Knicks on Wednesday at Chase Center.