The first viewpoint is that the Warriors played horrific offense, and were lucky to escape with a win against a Grizzlies team missing Ja Morant. The second viewpoint is that the Warriors played tremendous defense, and toughed out a win.
The truth is certainly in the middle. It was a dramatic game with some awful performances, and was way too close for comfort, but Golden State does deserve credit for an outstanding defensive showing.
But on the whole it wasn’t a very good performance. So let’s break out some healthy doses of red pen, and grade the players, weighting for our expectations of each.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) was 56.6% this season.
33 minutes, 2 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 5 fouls 1-for-2 shooting, 50.0% TS, +6
For the fourth time in as many games, the Warriors outrebounded Memphis. That’s pretty unbelievable considering the size difference between the two teams, especially now that Steven Adams has returned.
Green has been a huge part of that, and that was certainly the case on Monday night.
And for all the Warriors struggles, their defense really was sensational. They held Memphis to 41.7% shooting, including 25.7% from distance, and never let the Grizzlies get into a groove. Green was the person most responsible for that.
But he really didn’t get the offense going much in this one.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
5 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block, -5
I’ll be curious to see who starts for Wednesday’s Game 5, after Kuminga received the start but only played five minutes. His stats were nice given the limited minutes, but he was a little too sloppy and out of control for this game.
39 minutes, 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 7-for-13 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 59.4% TS, +12
If you need to name someone a player of the game, it’s Wiggins. It’s really not particularly close, either, and I don’t want to think about where the Warriors would be in this game — or series — without Wiggs.
His defense was phenomenal, yet he didn’t commit a single foul. He dedicated himself fully to the glass, and played a massive role — I’d posit the biggest role — in the Warriors winning that battle.
He didn’t make his threes, but his offense was very strong other than that. Just another exceptional game from Wiggins, who has been remarkable this series.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
38 minutes, 32 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 10-for-25 shooting, 4-for-14 threes, 8-for-9 free throws, 55.3% TS, +6
Curry really struggled to find his offensive rhythm in this game, and I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be quite happy when this series ends (assuming the Warriors win) and he can face a different defense. Memphis really does defend him better than any team in the NBA.
Despite his shot not falling, Curry still had big play after big play in the fourth quarter, when the Dubs overcame a 12-point deficit to win the game.
He made eight free throws in the final 45.7 seconds, tying the game, taking the lead, maintaining the lead, and icing the game. And he dished the ball well all night ... having eight assists when the team shot that poorly is quite impressive.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and assists.
38 minutes, 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 6-for-20 shooting, 0-for-7 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 33.5% TS, -3
A spirited rebounding effort and some strong defense from Klay. Everything else? Uhh .... yikes.
Hopefully the Dubs can close things out on Wednesday so that Klay can rest up and get his rhythm back before the Conference Finals.
Otto Porter Jr.
26 minutes, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 4-for-6 threes, 85.7% TS, +4
Porter felt like a little bit of an afterthought for stretches during the regular season. Now? It’s hard to imagine where the Warriors would be without him.
He shot 4-for-6 from three-point range. His teammates combined to shoot 5-for-31.
As he’s done for the last few games, he did a little bit of everything, playing quality defense across multiple positions, keeping the ball moving well, getting the Warriors into their sets, making shots, and boxing out. When the Warriors were flailing, Porter seemed to have an answer.
15 minutes, 8 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 3-for-5 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, 68.0% TS, -3
The Warriors will take 8 points and 9 rebounds in 15 minutes from Looney (or pretty much anyone), eight days a week. He stays ready, and really made an impact in this game when his number was called.
13 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1-for-6 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 16.7% TS, -7
I have no problem with Mike Brown turning to Lee in this game. With the Warriors offense playing horrifically, it made sense to put a slasher and shooter in to see what he could do. Unfortunately it didn’t work, and Lee didn’t provide much of anything else. But the thought process was fairly sound.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
32 minutes, 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 fouls, 4-for-12 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 47.8% TS, +5
Poole did a good job of finding alternate ways to impact the game in this one. When he couldn’t get clean shots, he found ways to make plays for teammates. When he couldn’t make shots, he attacked and got to the free throw line. He’s showing off a diverse skill package that allows him to help the Warriors win, even on days like Monday, where he wasn’t playing very well.
He also had some key plays down the stretch.
Monday’s DNPs: Nemanja Bjelica, Moses Moody, Juan Toscano-Anderson
Monday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, James Wiseman