The Golden State Warriors didn’t have the easiest task on Thursday, as they tried to beat a Memphis Grizzlies team that seems to have their number, all without Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, or Damion Lee, who had entered the league’s health and safety protocols.
But a hard-fought, 48-minute affair led to win No. 26 (tied with the Phoenix Suns for the league lead), as the Dubs dispatched of the Grizz 113-104.
They may not have had a full squad, but that certainly won’t keep us from grading all the players, weighting for expectations as always.
34 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 5 turnovers, 4 fouls, 4-for-8 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, +7
Dray had some rough moments in this game, as he was one of the worst offenders in a turnover-filled contest, and also picked up a technical foul. But for as much as the team’s turnovers threatened to lose the game for the Warriors, their assists might have won it for them, and Green was nothing short of brilliant on that front.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
Otto Porter Jr.
30 minutes, 8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 3-for-7 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, +10
Porter got his first start of the year in place of Wiggins, and proved why, if he can stay healthy, he may deserve a starting role on some team.
It wasn’t the offensive showing he’s had at other points in the season, but he was everywhere, flying into the lane to gobble up rebounds and block shots, swinging the ball to the open man, and making shots when left open.
He is a darn good basketball player, and an exceptional fit in Steve Kerr’s system.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
18 minutes, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 5 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, +4
Looney was solid in this game, banging bodies with the larger Steven Adams, and matching Adams’ rebounding total in fewer minutes (and holding Adams scoreless). He played bigger than his size, and the Warriors needed that against a physical Memphis team.
Five fouls is rough, but everything else was good.
37 minutes, 46 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 13-for-22 shooting, 8-for-14 threes, 12-for-12 free throws, +15
If you’re wondering if 46 points on 84.3% true-shooting is good, well ... yes. Yes it is good. Very good.
Curry has had a string of inefficient games lately, so it was good to see him have the type of stop-what-you’re-doing-and-get-to-the-TV-immediately performances.
46 Points. 8 Threes. Wardell Stephen Curry II.@UAbasketball || Second Look pic.twitter.com/J3Wv0FzGqg— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 24, 2021
These shows by the Chef never get old. He played to the crowd, boosted his teammates, and only got better as the leverage grew greater.
He’s one of a kind.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and plus/minus.
Gary Payton II
33 minutes, 22 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 fouls, 9-for-16 shooting, 4-for-7 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, +3
Payton was called on to start with Poole out, and he did his best impression of JP. Not only was Payton the team’s second-leading scorer, but he was the only Warrior other than Curry to notch double-digits ... and he did so with his best scoring performance of the year.
I’ve said it a million times, so I apologize for the repetition, but Payton’s defense is so elite that he only needs to be able to make a few open jumpers to be a really good player. Right now he’s doing that ... and a whole lot more.
Season-high 22 points ☔️— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 24, 2021
Career-high 4 threes ☔️
Way to get after it tonight, @Garydwayne pic.twitter.com/uAN3QFcspl
If we’re going to mention Payton’s line, we should also mention his star adversary, Ja Morant’s: 21 points, 6-for-15 shooting, 0-for-4 threes, 9-for-10 free throws, 6 assists, 3 turnovers, -5.
22 minutes, 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 foul, 3-for-8 shooting, 3-for-6 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, +3
Bjeli missed a pair of free throws at the end of the first half that would have given the Warriors the lead going into the break, but it was an otherwise awesome game from him. He made some deep triples, and in doing so forced Memphis’ defense to pull out further from the hoop than they wanted to. He attacked the glass hard — a necessity against a team like the Grizzlies — and helped make sure the ball found Curry’s hands.
Throwin' strikes @StateFarm || Assist of the Night pic.twitter.com/2pLuLR6zb2— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 24, 2021
11 minutes, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-4 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, -3
I have to give Kerr a lot of credit for how he’s handling Kuminga’s minutes. He’s making sure the youngster gets a good bit of run in most games, but not leaving him out for a long enough time where he might get overly exposed or cost the team.
Kuminga can be quite helpful in bursts, and Kerr is utilizing him well in that regard. Of course, it certainly helps when he makes his threes...
Rookie to Rookie— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 24, 2021
26 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 5 turnovers, 3 fouls, 2-for-7 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +8
JTA did some exceptional things in this game, but he also forced the issue a little bit. You love to see the assists, but there’s no reason why a big should come off the bench and have five turnovers.
Still, he was a shot of energy in this game, attacking the glass much harder than the rebounding totals suggest, and playing some really special defense.
11 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 1-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, +11
Moody still isn’t getting very much playing time, but with Poole, Lee, and Wiggins out, the door was open for him to get on the court some on Thursday. They weren’t particularly eventful minutes, but he played well, and continues to impress with his defensive readiness.
17 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 0-for-4 shooting, -13
Despite the uninspiring numbers, I think Chiozza has played pretty well this season when given the chance. But he struggled in this game, and seemed to really be missing the Warriors secondary scorers and shooters. The Dubs needed a little more from their playmakers with their scoring wings out, and Chiozza had a hard time in that role.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
Thursday’s DNPs: Jeff Dowtin, Quinndary Weatherspoon
Thursday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, Damion Lee, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman