The Golden State Warriors improved to 13-3 at home on Christmas Day, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 123-109 at the Chase Center. Despite missing Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins, the Dubs went toe-to-toe with a healthy Grizzlies team and nearly led from start to finish.
Jordan Poole scored 17 points in the first quarter, and set the stage for an impressive night from the Warriors young players. The Warriors led 33-29 at the end of the first quarter, maintaining a lead despite closing the quarter with a lineup comprised of Poole, Ty Jerome, Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga, and James Wiseman.
Wiseman did not attempt a shot in his nine minutes of action, but it was arguably his most effective performance as a pro. He racked up 5 rebounds and commited just one foul. He still looks uncomfortable defensively, but he was more patient and did a good job contesting Grizzlies shots inside.
Watch James Wiseman during this entire possession: pic.twitter.com/dd67nDGQGq— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) December 26, 2022
Kuminga had an up-and-down performance, struggling offensively at times, but he was a force defensively. No one on the Grizzlies was able to create an open shot off the dribble against Kuminga. Moody finished 4-for-7 from the field with 10 points while Jerome was easily Golden State’s most productive player off the bench, recording 14 points and 4 rebounds in 22 minutes.
The Warriors came out of the half with a 64-59 lead and Draymond Green quickly drew a foul on Jaren Jackson Jr. that was his fourth of the game. Forced to the bench, the Warriors took advantage of Memphis without their athletic/lanky defender. The Dubs went on an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter and had stretched their lead to 20 by the fourth.
Poole was called for his second technical foul and was ejected with more than nine minutes left in regulation, but the Dubs did not flinch. While Ja Morant racked up 36 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, no one else on Memphis managed more than 13 points.
While the youngsters earned plenty of praise, Green was easily the Warriors' best player on Sunday. Facing off against a Grizzlies team that has dedicated a lot of time to trash-talking the Dubs, Green’s notoriously long memory led him to bring his A-game. With Poole carrying the scoring load on offense, Green only needed 3 field-goal attempts to control the game. He racked up 13 rebounds, 13 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks while committing just two turnovers. The Warriors will not be able to get that level of contribution from Green every game, but when they do, they can compete with everyone.
Donte DiVincenzo was also fantastic filling in for Wiggins. He finished 7-for-12 from the field (5-for-9 from three) with 19 points in 31 minutes alongside a solid defensive effort.
Draymond Green in great help position on the Ja drive, which results in a block. Just all-time-great defender. pic.twitter.com/9ishs0Qk6s— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) December 26, 2022
The Warriors enigmatic season continues on Tuesday when they host the Charlotte Hornets at 7:00 PM Pacific.