The Golden State Warriors gave it the old college try — fueled by one helluva third-quarter run — but fell short in their comeback bid against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. The Dubs fell behind big in the early going, and though their run turned the large deficit into an eight-point lead, they couldn’t sustain it, falling to an on-fire Memphis team 116-108.
The Warriors were without Draymond Green, but then again, the Grizz were without Steven Adams and Dillon Brooks. So while it wasn’t a bad loss, as far as losses go, it wasn’t a good one either (it was fun, though).
There’s still some feel-good shine from the return of Klay Thompson, but Tuesday was a rude reminder that it’s back to business. Now let’s grade the players, weighting for our expectations.
34 minutes, 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 fouls, 5-for-12 shooting, 3-for-6 threes, -4
Not the finest game for Wiggins, who showed some unfortunate things on both ends of the court. On offense, Wiggs seemed a bit stymied by Memphis (though in his defense, many of his teammates did, too). The Grizzlies play physically, and Wiggins seemed more interested in shying away from that than attacking it. Simply put, a wing in 2022 needs to get to the free throw line, especially if they’re not an elite shooter.
On defense Wiggins was decent but not great. It seems he, like many, greatly benefits from Green’s presence.
7 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, -8
A very weird game for JTA, who started in Green’s place, played a large chunk of the first quarter, checked in for a very short stint in the second quarter, and then never played again.
Perhaps he had an injury that we haven’t yet learned about, but more likely is that Steve Kerr wanted to try Toscano-Anderson’s length against Ja Morant and, after witnessing it be a disaster, went in a different, much more successful direction.
18 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, 4-for-4 free throws, -4
Looney has done a tremendous job this season slowing down traditional centers, who look like Humvees in a parking lot of Fiats when facing the Warriors. But with Adams out, and Memphis playing with more contemporary lineups, Looney’s strength was eliminated a little bit.
Still played rather well, though.
39 minutes, 27 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 9-for-21 shooting, 2-for-9 threes, 9-for-10 free throws, -1
If you’re looking for the most unfortunate stat of the game (other than Memphis 116, Golden State 108), it’s probably Curry playing 39 minutes in a regulation game that the team lost. Kerr has received a lot of criticism for playing Curry conservatively this year, so I’m not going to blame him for going to his superstar early and often in this one. No one is to blame.
But Curry carrying a big load on the start of a brutal road trip is a bit of a bummer.
It also was the first time in his career that he had a triple-double in a loss.
But worth mentioning how strong he was at attacking the rim, despite his jumper abandoning him.
Count it 3️⃣0️⃣— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 12, 2022
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, rebounds, and assists.
20 minutes, 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 5-for-13 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +17
But if you’re looking for the most fortunate stat of the game, it’s the Warriors outscoring the Grizzlies by 17 points in Thompson’s 20 minutes, while being outscored by 25 in the 28 minutes when he was on the bench.
Now, the usual caveat that I regale y’all with on a regular basis applies: single-game plus/minus should be taken with a McDonald’s distribution order amount of salt, as Klay greatly benefitted from being on the floor for the team’s mammoth run, which he of course contributed to, but was far from the sole contributor.
Still, it was a reminder as to not just how good he is, but how much gravity he carries, and how much he opens up the floor for everyone around him. And it sure seems like he is attacking the rim more than ever.
KT straight down the lane#KlayThompson || #NBAAllStar— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 12, 2022
@NBCSAuthentic & @NBATV pic.twitter.com/5MBl71I7D3
Post-game bonus: Best plus/minus on the team
12 minutes, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2-for-3 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, -2
I mentioned after Sunday’s game that Bjelica should stand to benefit from the gravity of Thompson, even though he went 0-for-5 from distance in that game. Well, 2-for-3 sure looks a lot better, even if it means we have to ignore the fact that I don’t think he and Klay ever shared the court in this game.
21 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 fouls, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, -12
I really enjoyed Iguodala’s game, mainly because the very game and passionate Memphis crowd booed him every time he touched the ball, all game long. This was in response to Iguodala never playing for the Grizzlies after Golden State traded him there prior to the 2019-20 season, as he held out until the team finally traded him to the Miami Heat.
It was fun. Would have been more fun if Iguodala won that battle, but instead, the fans did.
Otto Porter Jr.
28 minutes, 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 3-for-5 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, -7
The bench just didn’t play very well in this game, but you can’t much blame Porter, who stepped into a large role and played it nicely. He wasn’t part of the run that got the Dubs back in it, but he did what was asked of him.
TTO— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 12, 2022
9 minutes, 5 points, 1 assist, 1-for-2 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 0 plus/minus
It probably shouldn’t be surprising that Lee, the first shooting guard off the bench when Jordan Poole was a starter, would see his minutes take a big hit with Thompson’s return. And indeed, Lee played single-digit minutes on Tuesday, after a healthy DNP on Sunday.
But he used his minutes to remind the coaching staff that he’s a valuable player.
Gary Payton II
23 minutes, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 5 fouls, 6-for-8 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, +9
GP2 became an honorary starter, taking Toscano-Anderson’s spot in the lineup when the second half began. Kerr seemed to like Payton’s defense on Ja Morant, which ... yeah. Payton is one of the best on-ball perimeter defenders alive. And while Morant forced Payton into foul trouble, and still had a divine game, Payton played him beautifully and made the soon-to-be All-Star work for everything.
Sometimes that’s all you can do against great players.
On the other side of the court, GP2 went from a liability, to a net neutral, to a downright weapon on offense, in a matter of just a few months.
GARY— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 12, 2022
22 minutes, 12 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 3-for-11 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, 5-for-5 free throws, -17
It was a tale of two shooting guards for Golden State, as the team outscored Memphis by 17 minutes when Thompson played, and were outscored by the same amount when Poole did.
It will take some time for Poole to adjust to his new role, but you can simply chalk this one up to his jumper not falling in Tennessee.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus-minus on the team.
7 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, -11
You wouldn’t blame Moody for trying to do a lot in his sporadic minutes, but he did an excellent job in this game sticking to his role and the system, and making a little bit of an impact.
Tuesday’s DNPs: Chris Chiozza, Quinndary Weatherspoon
Tuesday’s inactives: Draymond Green, Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman