Grizzlies vs. Score


The Memphis Grizzlies got off to a hot start on the offensive end, specifically from behind the arc, but were unable to capitalize on an early lead and eventually ran out of Chase Center in Game 3 of the Western Conference semi-final series against the Golden State Warriors as the host team. With a 142-112 victory.

Ja Morant set big numbers for the Grizzlies again, finishing with 34 points, seven assists and three rebounds, but the Warriors’ balanced attack was too much to beat as five players finished the double figures, led by Stephen Curry with 30 points and six assists while Jordan Paul scored 27 points on his own. With the win, Golden State had the opportunity to take what could be a significant advance in a better-of-seven streak against Memphis Monday night in Game 4.

Here are the top three conclusions from Game 3.

1. Welcome to Paul’s party

Golden State’s equality offense is unique in the NBA. It’s the kind of system where anyone can lead the team in scoring. The Five Warriors have at least 17 points in a Game 3 victory, so it’s not as if Golden State has given up their principles against Memphis, but they seem to have embraced a very simple truth: No one in the Grizzlies can stay ahead of Jordan Poole. Plays like this don’t appear in the score box, but they made Poole very valuable in Game 3.

Someone slower than Jordan Ball tried to defend Jordan Ball. Said the slower defender was cremated by Jordan Bull. The defense panicked for trying to take an easy basket. This created an easier basket.

Playoff basketball is about matches. Teams need to set their best and attack them relentlessly because, at this level, the advantages would usually be few and far between. Golden State has never really played this way. They prefer their constant movement and the offense of the beautiful game. Paul vs. Memphis was the perfect combination of the two. He finds slow defenders, destroys them, and then makes an extra pass when the defense interacts with him. It’s an advantage this Warriors team hasn’t had before. Stephen Curry has many gifts, but he’s not of that athletic caliber. Efficient ruthlessly, Kevin Durant is a lot more methodical than explosive.

Paul is something different. It’s as if Greg Maddux suddenly developed a fastball at 100mph in his mid-30s. He was already unbeatable… and now opponents have to deal with this as well? It is almost unfair.

2. Good Clay, Bad Clay

This has been an extreme season for Klay Thompson on his return to the Warriors after a two-year absence. He hit less than 40 percent off the field in nearly half of his regular season games. He also crossed 35 points four times in the final month of the regular season as he began to get back into shape for the game.

The playoffs have been a similar story so far. He averaged 24.5 points on 50 percent of shooting from behind the arc in his first four games after the season ended. Over the next three, his tally was nearly halved to 14 points. He’s only made 21.4 percent of 3 doubles in those games. On a daily basis, it’s almost impossible to know which version of Thompson will appear: the star from the Golden State dynasty years or the shell recovered from the early days of this season.

The raw numbers weren’t quite there because it was a blast, but Thompson was the player that opened this game wide. After settling in some nice mid-range jumpers in the first inning, Thompson quickly sunk in 2 3s to open third to help the Warriors into the 10-0 round. That turned a seven-point lead — which came with plenty of Memphis momentum after Ja Morant fired a shot in half to close out the second quarter — into a 17-point gap that the Grizzlies were unable to bridge.

This is the Thompson version that the Warriors need to win the championship. He’s not as instrumental in the ball possession offense in Golden State as Curry and can’t bend his defense as a ball coach the way Paul can now, but he is perhaps the greatest shooter in history. It’s the difference between being very good warriors and being unstoppable. If this is the Klay version we get for the rest of the qualifiers, the Warriors can totally win the tournament.

3. In the area

We’re in three games in this series and Ja Morant has yet to be held below 34 points. The warriors couldn’t actually stop him. Without Gary Payton second in the lineup, their best hope is to annoy him momentarily. They’ve found a new way to do it in Game 3: Zone Defense.

It was a cross curve ball, and the Warriors were the most used in the second quarter. Defending the offense and offense area will define it. But Golden State got rid of 12 possessions in Game 3, and the results were largely positive. The idea of ​​the zone, for the most part, is to force opponents to shoot jumpers. The Grizzlies can certainly do that, but it’s not their greatest strength as a team. Golden State certainly held Memphis a reasonable 12 points on those 12 properties.

More importantly, the confusion of cover-up forces wrongdoing to think. This is a problem for a team like the Grizzlies who thrive on the frantic chaos of transition, mismatched hunting, and offensive bounces. Golden State would have won this match no matter what. The Warriors scored 142 points. But at least they’ve found a way to keep Morrant on his toes offensively, and that’s an important wrinkle for the rest of the series.



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